Intranasal Covid Vaccines: How They Can Help Fight The Pandemic 

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - May 4, 2021 01:25 PM +05:30 IST
Intranasal Covid Vaccines: How They Can Help Fight The Pandemic (Flickr)
  • Nasal vaccines are easier to administer and research suggests that they could be more effective than the jabs given by a syringe.

Researchers believe that nasal spray offers several benefits over traditional approaches to vaccine administration. So, it is possible that the next generation Covid-19 vaccines won’t need a syringe to be administered.

The currently available vaccines are limited and a majority of them are going to high-income countries which include only 16 per cent of the world population.

In such a case, nasal Covid shots, which can be administered by spraying the solution into the nostrils, could emerge as a game-changer.

Dr Bill Petri, infectious disease professor at the University of Virginia told the Gulf News that since someone can get infected after the invasion of the pathogen through the nose, it is very appealing to immunise directly in the nose.

When researchers studied the efficacy of these non-traditional vaccines on animals, they found that nasal sprays effectively reduced Covid-19 viral load.

In the case of a nasal spray, developed by Canadian company SaNOtize, a clinical trial in the United Kingdom confirmed that it can reduce Covid viral load by more than 95 per cent in coronavirus infected people within 24 hours of treatment and 99 per cent in 72 hours.

Currently, SaNOtize is reportedly talking to some pharmaceutical companies in India to take its Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS) to the Indian market.

At the same time evidence is building up to support the usefulness of nasal vaccines in stimulating a broad immune response against the coronavirus.

Lancaster University collaborated with researchers at the Biomedical Research Institute in Texas to investigate their nasal spray vaccine against Covid-19.

According to a January report, the Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) based nasal vaccine has shown promising signs of kicking antibody and T-cell responses that can suppress SARS-CoV-2.

The study author Muhammad Munir, who is a virologist at Lancaster University, said that administering the vaccine through a nasal spray completely protected the animals from shedding the virus which causes transmission of the pathogen.

“This means the immunization of the upper respiratory tract through a nasal spray can prevent individuals from spreading the virus and developing infections elsewhere in the body,” he added.

If approved, a nasal Covid-19 vaccine would be a low-cost alternative for the developing world.

Dr Mohammed Rohaim who is a part of the team from Lancaster University believes that scalability, as well as economical production, make the nasal vaccines suitable for low- and middle-income countries.

List Of Nasal Covid Vaccines

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set the minimum efficacy rate of nasal vaccines against Covid-19 at 50 per cent.

Currently, several researchers are making such vaccines against the coronavirus caused disease.

According to WHO, eight research groups are working on the development of nasal Covid-19 vaccines, including India’s Bharat Biotech’s BBV154.

As per the Hyderabad based pharmaceutical company which developed Covaxin, BBV154 is a novel adenovirus vectored, an intranasal vaccine for Covid-19.

This vaccine stimulates a broad immune response while neutralizing IgG, mucosal IgA, and T cell responses, said the Indian company.

The vaccine is currently in Phase 1 trial.

The list includes another nasal vaccine developed by the University of Hong Kong, Xiamen University and Beijing Wantai Bio Pharmacy.

The viral vector (non-replicating) based vaccine is now in the Phase 2 trial.

Other candidates are; vaccines developed by the University of Helsinki and University of Eastern Finland (pre-clinical trial), University of Virginia’s protein sub-unit vaccine (pre-clinical), Lancaster University’s viral vector nasal vaccine (pre-clinical), Farmacologicos Veterinarios’ viral vector nasal spray (Pre-clinical) and SaNOtize R&D Corp’s NONS vaccine.

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