NEW DELHI Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya Thursday unveiled iNCOVACC, the world’s first government-approved intranasal Covid-19 vaccine, for a primary two-shot schedule – four weeks apart – as well as a booster dose for those who have earlier taken Covaxin or Covishield.It has been developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited in collaboration with Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance, a PSU. The vaccine utilises a vector-based platform that can be easily updated with emerging variants making quick large-scale production easy. It will be initially available in some private hospitals and later at government-approved centres.Unlike the existing injectable Covid-19 vaccines, iNCOVACC is to be administered through the nose, as a two-dose series, four weeks apart. A total of eight drops (0.5 ml per dose) – four drops into each nostril – are to be administered. The nasal vaccine has already been added to the CoWin app, the platform for vaccination registration in India. “The price of the vaccine has been fixed at Rs 800 per dose for private hospitals. For large volume procurement by the Centre and state governments, the vaccine will be priced at Rs 325 per dose,” said an official.The administration of iNCOVACC does not require syringes, needles, alcohol wipes, bandage, thus saving costs related to procurement, distribution, storage and biomedical waste disposal, which are required for injectable vaccines, the health ministry said. It added that the vaccine utilises a vector-based platform, which can be easily updated with emerging variants, leading to large-scale production within a few months.Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the launch of the intranasal vaccine marks a glorious tribute to the call for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. Science and technology minister Jitendra Singh was also present at the unveiling of the vaccine. Congratulating BBIL for innovating another vaccine in collaboration with BIRAC, Singh said India has taken a lead in developing vaccines and medicines. He credited PM Modi’s personal intervention and regular monitoring for inspiring and enabling the launching of “Mission Covid Suraksha”.