Bharat Biotech on Wednesday signed a licensing agreement with Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, US for a novel "chimp-adenovirus", single dose intranasal vaccine for COVID-19.
According to a press release issued by the city-based vaccine maker, Bharat Biotech owns the rights to distribute the vaccine in all markets except the US, Japan and Europe.
While the Phase I trial will take place in St Louis University's Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, Bharat Biotech, upon obtaining the required regulatory approval, will pursue further stages of clinical trials in India and undertake large scale manufacture of the vaccine at its GMP facility in Genome Valley here, it said.
Adenoviruses are the basis for many investigational vaccines for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, such as Ebola virus and tuberculosis. They have good safety and efficacy records, but not much research has been done with nasal delivery of these vaccines.
"Our experience in viral vaccines, manufacturing capabilities, and distribution continue to be our strong suit in ensuring safe, efficacious, and affordable vaccines.
It is prudent for Bharat to be involved in diverse but tenable projects to provide a much-needed vaccine against COVID-19 which reaches all citizens of the world," Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, Krishna Ella said.
The company envisions to scale up this vaccine to one billion doses, translating to an equal number of individuals vaccinated receiving a single-dose regimen.
An intranasal vaccine will not only be simple to administer but reduce the use of medical consumables such as needles, syringes, etc., significantly impacting the overall cost of a vaccination drive, it said.
Director of Biologic Therapeutics Center and Professor of Radiation Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine and Precision Virologics Interim CEO, Dr David T Curiel said, "The ability to accomplish effective immunization with a single nasal dose is a major advantage, offering broader reach and easier administration.
An effective nasal dose not only protects against COVID19, but it also prevents the spread of the disease by offering another kind of immunity that occurs primarily in the cells that line the nose and throat.
Most other vaccine candidates currently under development cant do that."
This vaccine expands BBs portfolio of vaccines that are currently being developed and are in various stages of clinical development including Covaxin which is currently in Phase II human clinical trials in India, it said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)