As the second wave of Covid-19 recedes, countries are rushing to vaccinate their people to protect vulnerable groups with some experts anticipating a third wave of the pandemic.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian masses and spoke about the various plans that the government has laid out to combat the deadly virus. In his address, he also said that research on developing nasal vaccines as an alternative to intramuscular vaccines are underway. 

“Research is going on for a nasal spray vaccine, which if successful can significantly boost India’s vaccination drive,” he said.

What is a nasal vaccine?

A nasal vaccine is a vaccine administered to a person via the nose and does not require a needle. It induces immunity through the inner surface of the nose, a surface that naturally comes in contact with many airborne microbes.   

An expert panel of India’s drug regulator CDSCO on January this year recommended granting permission for conducting the phase 1 clinical trial of an intranasal vaccine against Covid-19 developed by Bharat Biotech. NITI Aayog member (health) V K Paul at a press conference said, “A nasal vaccine candidate has been identified. It has come for consideration to the drug regulator for phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials.”   

Krishna Ella, the chairman of Bharat Biotech, had said the company is focusing on the intranasal vaccine as existing vaccines require two-dose intramuscular injections and a country like India needs 2.6 billion syringes and needles which may add to pollution. “One drop of vaccine in each of the nostrils is sufficient,” he had said.

PM Modi also said that by working in mission mode, the Government raised the vaccination coverage from 60 per cent to 90 per cent in 5 to 6 years. He said, Government not only enhanced the speed but also widened the ambit of vaccination. Mr Modi said, two made-in-India vaccines for Covid have been launched in the country.

The Prime Minister informed that Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana has been extended till Diwali. He said, in this time of pandemic, Government is standing with the poor. Mr Modi said, free food grains will be available in fixed quantity every month to more than 80 crore countrymen till November.

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