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COVID-19 Nasal vaccines: What you need to know

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, new vaccines to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19m are under constant development.

Up to now, all approved COVID-19 vaccines have been subcutaneous — that is, administered under the skin, often by injection into the upper area of the arm.

Now, two companies are planning to change that through the development of COVID-19 vaccines inhaled through the nose.

CanSino Biologics, a Chinese pharmaceutical company, recently received approval from the National Medical Products Administration of China for Convidecia Air, their recombinant vaccine delivered via inhalation, as a nasal spray.

Bharat Biotech International, a biotechnology company headquartered in India, has been granted approval under Restricted Use in Emergency Situation in India for its iNCOVACC recombinant vaccine administered intranasally as nasal drops.

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The mucosa is an important part of the body’s immune system. When a person breathes, the mucosa helps keep bacteria and other potentially problematic particles from getting into their body.

According to statements on CanSino Biologics website, Convidecia Air uses the same adenovirus vector technological platform as Convidecia, the company’s injectable COVID-19 vaccine.

The future of nasal COVID-19 vaccines

For example, a team of microbiologists at Mount Sinai is currently developing an intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate that is in or has completed phase 1 and 2 trials in Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, and Vietnam, with a phase 1 trial recently launched at Mount Sinai in the U.S.

COVID-19 nasal vaccines

Both Convidecia Air from CanSino Biologics and iNCOVACC from Bharat Biotech International Limited are recombinant vaccinesTrusted Source.

That means they use a protein from the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the vaccine. When the vaccine enters the body, the protein attaches to cells in the body, teaching them to trigger an immune responseTrusted Source if they ever encounter that same protein again.

Both of these intranasal vaccines also use adenovirus vectorTrusted Source technology. Adenoviral vectors are genetically engineered viruses previously used in gene therapy.

Researchers have also conducted studies on using adenovirus vectors as a vaccine platform for other diseases, including HIV-1Trusted Source, Ebola, and various other infectious diseases.

According to statements on CanSino Biologics website, Convidecia Air uses the same adenovirus vector technological platform as Convidecia, the company’s injectable COVID-19 vaccine.

Convidecia recently received emergency use listing from the World Health Organization (WHO). The phase 3 clinical trial results for Convidecia showed a 57.5%Trusted Source efficacy rate against SARS-CoV-2 infection preventing symptomatic COVID-19 28 days or more after vaccination.

Bharat Biotech’s iNCOVACC nasal vaccine was developed in partnership with Washington University St. Louis. The intranasal vaccine reportedly showed “successful results” following phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical trials.

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