Finally a vaccine to banish Covid for good? Nasal spray reduces risk of infection 86% — nearly DOUBLE protection given by shot in arm
- Phase 1 results showed the spray slashed the risk of symptomatic Covid by 86%
- The nasal spray proved a more effective booster than the FDA-approved shots
- An inhalable Covid vaccine could be a gamechanger to finally banish Covid
A nasal vaccine that could finally curb Covid infections is one step closer to a reality after promising early trial results.
The inhaled vaccine, made by researchers in Georgia, successfully reduced the risk of symptomatic Covid infections by 86 percent for three months in people who received it as a booster – almost double the protection the mRNA boosters provide.
While still in early stages, it is an exciting development that could prove more effective than the booster doses administered as injections.
The nasal, or ‘mucosal’ vaccines are appealing for their ability to prime immune cells in the mucous membranes that line the nostril cavities and the mouth where the coronavirus first enters the body, and stop the virus in its tracks.
Blue Lake Biotechnology Inc.’s vaccine technology relies on a type of parainfluenza virus that has been encoded with Covid’s trademark spike protein to train the immune system to recognize and fight it off. Once inhaled, little bits of the parainfluenza virus replicate inside the nasal cavity to trigger an immune response without actually sickening the person
Nasal vaccines such as the one currently in development at Georgia-based startup Blue Lake Biotechnology Inc. concentrate the immune protection in the upper airways, positioning powerful antibodies right on the frontlines.
In their phase 1 trial starting in August 2021, researchers at Blue Lake Biotechnology included 72 participants ages 18 to 55 who had already received two doses of an mRNA vaccine as well as unvaccinated healthy people.
They plan to expand the sample size and will continue recruiting subjects through December.
The vaccine technology relies on a type of parainfluenza virus that has been encoded with Covid’s trademark spike protein to train the immune system to recognize and fight it off.
Once the vaccine contents are inhaled, little bits of the parainfluenza virus replicate inside the nasal cavity to such an extent that it triggers an immune response without actually getting the person sick.
Dr Biao He, founder and CEO of Blue Lake Biotechnology said: ‘We were pleasantly surprised to see indications of a protective effect in this Phase 1 trial.’
‘We are excited and encouraged with this result, and through our affiliate, CyanVac LLC, we have submitted a protocol to FDA for a randomized controlled phase 2 trial in which we look forward to more fully evaluating the immunogenicity of the vaccine and to better understanding its protective efficacy.’
The immune response launched by the nasal spray vaccine could potentially be significantly more robust than a vaccine administered via syringe.
Booster shots currently in use across the US have been shown to reduce symptomatic infections by 43 percent in people 65 and younger over roughly the same amount of time that the spray is able to confer 86 percent protection.
People in the trials who received the nasal spray experienced fewer adverse reactions than those who received the injectable vaccine.
Nasal spray vaccines will appear to many a less invasive means of gaining protection against severe illness, potentially attracting the needle-phobic vaccine holdouts.
The finished product is still a ways off and this is the type of next generation Covid vaccines that public health officials have said are urgently needed in the event that a new variant that is able to circumvent vaccine protection arises.
Dr Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research within the Food and Drug Administration and fellow experts at Brown University said late last year: ‘Introduction of these bivalent boosters likely only represents a temporizing measure until variants emerge that necessitate additional booster vaccination or modification of the current generation of vaccines.
‘Serious consideration therefore needs to be given to the development of a distinctly improved generation of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines offering longer protection with greater scope.’