Populations across the world may soon get their COVID-19 vaccine without the need for that painful needle.
The third phase of clinical trials is underway for a nasal COVID-19 vaccine; which scientists say could be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic.
If the clinical trials are anything to go by, the COVID-19 jab will soon change into a sniff that scientists say will muster a wall of immunity right where viruses find their foothold, ultimately blocking the spread, and preventing even mild infections.
Scientists now want to deliver inoculations to the site where the virus first makes contact, that is the nose, blocking infections entirely, after the experts likened the mucosal vaccines to putting a guard at the front door, as opposed to waiting until the invader is already inside to attack as seen in the COVID-19 jabs.
According to Kenya’s Covid-19 vaccine deployment head, Dr. Willis Akhwale, the nasal vaccines could really help given that a majority of people fear the needle.
“Nasal sprays will still get into the blood. It is not so much the source of infection but the body reacting to something called an antigen. We welcome innovation and will depend on the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations,” he added.
According to Amref Health Africa global CEO, Dr. Githinji Gitahi, “concerns are many, including sneezing as well as the inability to penetrate the mucosa. But there is guarded optimism as there is no existing successful spray vaccine.”
Nasal vaccines are not a new idea, but they are far less tried and have stumbled over the years because scientists know little about the machinations of mucosal immunity.
According to the WHO, at least nine labs and companies around the world are developing the nasal vaccines; three are in phase three clinical trials, where they are being tested in large groups of people.