Science

Covid-19 vaccine: Experimental nasal vaccine proves effective in mice, says study

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on August 22, 2020

A new vaccine that targets the novel coronavirus, which can be delivered through the nose, has been proven effective in preventing infection in mice susceptible to the virus, according to a new study published in the journal Cell.

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a vaccine that targets the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Unlike other vaccines, this vaccine can de be delivered in one dose via the nose.

“We were happily surprised to see a strong immune response in the cells of the inner lining of the nose and upper airway — and a profound protection from infection with this virus,” said senior author Michael S Diamond, MD, PhD, the Herbert S Gasser, Professor of Medicine and a professor of molecular microbiology, and of pathology and immunology. “These mice were well protected from disease. And in some of the mice, we saw evidence of sterilizing immunity, where there is no sign of infection whatsoever after the mouse is challenged with the virus.”

According to the new study on mice, researchers discovered that the vaccine was more effective in preventing the infection from taking over the body as it was particularly effective in generating an immune response in the nose and respiratory tract.

The vaccine has been developed by inserting a spike protein used by coronaviruses, inside another virus – called an adenovirus – that causes the common cold.

‘Promising results’

“Adenoviruses are the basis for many investigational vaccines for Covid-19 and other infectious diseases, such as Ebola virus and tuberculosis, and they have good safety and efficacy records, but not much research has been done with nasal delivery of these vaccines,” said co-senior author David T Curiel, MD, PhD, the Distinguished Professor of Radiation Oncology.

“All of the other adenovirus vaccines in development for Covid-19 are delivered by injection into the arm or thigh muscle. The nose is a novel route, so our results are surprising and promising. It’s also important that a single dose produced such a robust immune response. Vaccines that require two doses for full protection are less effective because some people, for various reasons, never receive the second dose.”

This vaccine does not use live virus that can replicate itself making it safer according to the researchers. However, it has only been studied in mice so far.

“ The investigators next plan to test the vaccine in non-human primates and humans to see if it is safe and effective in preventing Covid-19 infection,” according to an official release by the University.

Published on August 22, 2020

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