A dose of an inhaled COVID-19 vaccine proved successful in animal experiments, researchers say, possibly opening the door to another option that is easier to administer than traditional needle shots. The vaccine, called PIV5, was developed using a platform that was previously used for influenza vaccines and is targeted at mucosal cells located in the nasal passages and airways.
In a recent study involving mice, researchers from the University of Iowa and the University of Georgia found that it fully protected the animals from deadly COVID-19 infection and blocked animal-to-animal transmission of the virus in ferrets. The results were published July 2 in the journal Science Advances.
The vaccine was stable for up to three months when stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, the researchers said.
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“The currently available vaccines against COVID-19 are very successful, but the majority of the world’s population is still unvaccinated and there is a critical need for more vaccines that are easy to use and effective in stopping disease and transmission,” he said. Dr. Paul McCray, professor of pediatric pulmonary medicine as well as microbiology and immunology at UI Carver College of Medicine, one of the leaders of the study. “If this new COVID-19 vaccine proves effective in humans, it can help block SARS-CoV-2 transmission and help control the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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Several nasal vaccines are on the way and have reached clinical trials, but no approval has yet been submitted.