The Drugs Controller General of India has approved Bharat Biotech’s intranasal coronavirus vaccine for restricted emergency use for persons above 18 years of age, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.

“This step will further strengthen our collective fight against the pandemic,” Mandaviya said. “India has harnessed its science, R&D [research and development], and human resources in the fight against Covid-19 under PM Narendra Modi’s leadership. With the science-driven approach and Sabka Prayas [everyone’s efforts], we will defeat Covid-19.”

Bharat Biotech completed clinical trials of its nasal vaccine, designated BBV154, on about 4,000 volunteers, PTI quoted unidentified company officials as saying. No side effects or adverse reactions have been reported so far, the officials said.

On August 15, Bharat Biotech said that the vaccine was proven to be safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic in the Phase-3 clinical trials. The nasal delivery system has been designed to be cost-effective for low and middle-income countries, the vaccine maker said in a press release.

India has administered 2,13,72,68,615 Covid-19 vaccines since the nationwide inoculation drive began in January 2021. Out of these, 19,93,670 vaccines were administered in the past 24 hours, according to the Union health ministry.

The country registered 4,417 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. The active case load in the country stands at 52,336 and active infections account for 0.12% of the total positive cases.