A nasal vaccine against Covid-19 infection could soon become a reality. Pharmaceutical major AstraZeneca has said that it has made significant developments in finding a potential drug that can be taken through the nose. It is said that the nasal vaccine in animal models has delivered some promising results. The drug successfully prevented the virus from spread during the experiment. The study noted that the nasal vaccine reduced virus concentrations. This results in curbing the transmission. The study was done in two animal models exposed to SARS-CoV-2. It said that the results will bolster the experiments to find the right nasal vaccine for humans. The company said that there is a need for further study as a breakthrough in intranasal Covid vaccination will help speeding up the vaccination drive and cover the maximum population at the earliest to win the war against Covid-19.
The study was done by researchers from the US NIH and the University of Oxford. Researchers said that the nasal vaccine was administered to rhesus macaques and hamsters. The method reduced concentrations in nasal swabs and viral loads. It produced mucosal immunity. This gives protection against SARS-CoV-2. Researchers said that animal numbers involved in the study were limited. But results are very encouraging and significant. Researchers measured if the nasal vaccine in macaques and hamsters limits the detection of virus in nasal swabs. The animals were exposed to the original Covid variant. They found that viral loads in hamsters’ swabs were reduced compared to hamsters. Besides, no infectious virus was detected in the lung tissue of infected hamsters.
Notably, the past studies in rhesus macaques with AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 intramuscular vaccine had shown that it protects from pneumonia. It didn’t reduce virus shedding from the upper respiratory tract. The study said that nasal vaccine protected the lower respiratory tract. The intramuscular vaccine provided partial protection. Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Oxford have already commenced the phase 1 clinical trial of the nasal vaccine on humans. The trial is being done on 54 healthy adults. Although vaccination against Covid-19 is going on in different countries, there are poor countries that are yet to begin the drive. The current vaccines are given using a syringe. It requires trained medical personnel. A nasal vaccine will cut this load. It can be administered by any individual. It will also help in covering vulnerable people at the earliest.