“We shouldn’t settle for a new normal. We can get back to the old normal,” according to Meissa Vaccines CEO Marty Moore, as he touts his company’s nasal spray Covid-19 vaccine.
Its premise is simple, as explained in a Business Insider report on Oct 28. A nasal mist can stop how this coronavirus has been spread — mainly by people talking, singing, laughing, sneezing and just breathing when they are around other people.
“An intranasal vaccine could help bring an end to the pandemic and help give us true control over SARS-CoV-2 by limiting infection and transmission,” said Mr Moore.
Much more clinical data will be needed before this becomes a reality, but immunologists around the globe are getting excited over the possibility of a nasal spray vaccine — which won’t need a needle stuck in anyone’s arm – returning life to normal.
Such jabs provide systemic immunity to the body, and are designed to protect the lungs, heart, and other internal organs from severe disease, but they don’t do much for the nose, which is most often exposed to the virus. In other words, the nose needs mucosal immunity which jabs don’t really deliver.
US infectious disease specialist Celine Gounder said that we have to “find another way to elicit a mucosal response to complement the systemic immune response”. And that could be the nasal spray vaccine.
Trials of such vaccines are being conducted in Israel, Russia, Cuba, India, Hong Kong and Iran by smaller pharmaceutical companies including Meissa, which says its early clinical data shows that unvaccinated trial subjects who had a few drops of the Meissa vaccine in each nostril had higher levels of mucosal antibodies.
Immunologists welcome Meissa’s results because a no-needle fix could possibly break down barriers for the vaccine-hesitant, as well as be used as boosters for traditional vaccine labs.
“There are quite a few people who would rather have drops in the nose than the needle (in the arm). So I think an intranasal vaccine could reach not all, but many vaccine-hesitant people,” CEO Moore is quoted as saying.
In related news, trials are currently ongoing for delivering the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine intra-nasally as well.
This could mean the vaccine reacing more people, because this method would not require a trained professional to administer it, according to an Oct 26 article in biopharma-reporter.com.
Moreover, the report underlined that the nasal spray vaccine “would target the virus at the point of entry”, adding that “with less virus in the nasal passages, that would decrease the risk that vaccinated people spread the virus”.
German researchers are also exploring the possibility of a nasal spray vaccine. Reinhold Förster, an immunologist from Hannover Medical School, and Gerd Sutter, a virologist from the Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich, say that this type of vaccine has the potential to prevent vaccinated people from being infected, and to limit the spread of the virus.
Dr Förster said, “The coronavirus penetrates the body via the respiratory tract and causes the greatest damage in the case of an illness in the lungs.”
Interestingly, nasal spray vaccines could apparently also help to slow down the rate of mutation of the virus. /TISG
Read also: Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine 90.7% effective on children 5-11 years old