- Scientists have come up with a revolutionary coronavirus vaccine candidate that has some theoretical advantages over other candidates.
- Hong Kong researchers have created an experimental drug that could protect against the coronavirus and flu.
- The vaccine would be given as a nasal spray rather than a traditional injection, so that a response can be generated at the typical entry site of these infectious pathogens.
At least one coronavirus vaccine could be approved for emergency use by the end of the year in America and the EU, at which point categories of people at risk could be immunized. Wider vaccination campaigns will begin around the world in early 2021
What’s great about the current state of research on COVID-19 vaccine is that there are hundreds of ideas under development, of which only about a dozen have reached Phase 3. The more vaccine approaches available, the more likely they are. we’ll find one that works. And scientists have come up with what may be one of the most exciting COVID-19 vaccine concepts to date, not only because it can be administered via a spray rather than a regular shot, but because it should offer protection from both COVID-19 and the flu, as it targets both at the same time.
Hong Kong researchers have developed a flu and COVID-19 vaccine that will enter phase 1 trials in Hong Kong in November. This means that the drug will not require regulatory approval for several months and this assumes it cancels all three stages of the trial with proven success. But the pandemic won’t end until the end of 2021 at the earliest. Some estimates say the pandemic will last until 2022. Even after that, the virus could circulate in communities and scientists don’t believe COVID-19 will be eradicated. Vaccines will be needed to manage the disease, along with other therapies and preventive measures.
Phase 1 of the trial will begin in Hong Kong, with the enrollment of about 100 adults, Yuen Kwok-Yung said. Bloomberg. Yuen is the Chair of Infectious Diseases of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong involved in the study.
The concept of a vaccine is similar to flu vaccines given by spray. The idea behind these drugs is to start working where the respiratory viruses enter the body, the nose. But the scientists went one step further and created a dual vaccine that would offer protection against the coronavirus.
“Our idea is that we want both flu protection and Covid-19 protection at the same time,” Yuen said. The vaccine uses a weakened flu virus that grows only in the upper airways. The attenuated virus cannot replicate and has been genetically engineered to include the coronavirus spike protein.
If successful, the vaccine would trigger an immune response against the coronavirus. The immune system should produce neutralizing antibodies to that spike protein, blocking the true coronavirus. The immune system would also generate a response to the flu virus that was used in the vaccine. That said, other flu viruses may still be infectious.
“We have shown very well that it works in animals,” Yuen said. “I think a mucosal vaccine is a great idea,” he added, referring to spray vaccines that target the nasal mucus membrane.
The vaccine has received funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the Hong Kong government. CEPI will also analyze successful vaccines and compare all research results to identify the best approaches to prevent infections. The Hong Kong study will have Phase 1 results a few months after the November start date. China started a different Phase 1 trial a few weeks ago on a vaccine candidate available in spray form. Separately, other researchers are studying COVID-19 drugs that can be administered via sprays or nebulizers.