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On the outskirts of this centuries-old Indian city, a world away from its congested roads and cacophony, the gleaming modern laboratories of Bharat Biotech are churning out a COVID-19 vaccine that would be sprayed into the nose rather than injected into the blood.

Currently available vaccines produce powerful, long-lasting immunity against severe illness, as several studies have recently shown. But their protection against infection from the coronavirus is transient, and can falter as new variants of the virus emerge — a failing that has prompted talk of regular booster shots.

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