Lancaster University researchers develop nasal spray COVID-19 vaccine

Researchers at Lancaster University have successfully developed a COVID-19 vaccine which has passed the first stage of development

Lancaster University has announced that its researchers have successfully produced a COVID-19 vaccine which can be administered with a nasal spray.

The nasal spray vaccine can be offered to those who are uncomfortable with needles or have blood clotting co-morbidities, who would be unable to receive more conventional injected vaccines. It also induces local immunity inside the nasal tract, preventing infection.

There is already a nasal influenza vaccine showing that this technology has proved effective at vaccinating humans.

Two doses of the vaccine spray were administered on rodents in animal trials which make up the first stage of vaccine development. This proved to be successful in fighting COVID-19.

The tests of the vaccine’s efficiency was performed by Lancaster University virologist Dr Muhammad Munir and immunologists Dr John Worthington and Dr Lucy Jackson-Jones in collaboration with researchers from the Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

Image may contain: Path, City, Town, College, Campus, Urban, Grass, Plant, Housing, Condo, Building, Human, Person

The announcement stated: “The vaccine is based on a common poultry virus called the Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), which can replicate in humans but is harmless. The scientists engineered NDV to produce the spike proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19, tricking the body into mounting an immune response against SARS-CoV-2.

“This elicited robust antibodies and T cell responses which were enough to be able to neutralize SARS-CoV-2. There was also a significant reduction in lung pathology, inflammation and clinical disease in the rodents who received the vaccine.”

The announcement then went on to quote Dr Munir, who said: “We found that administering this vaccine through a nasal spray completely protected the animals from shedding the virus which causes transmission of the virus. This means the immunization of the upper respiratory tract through a nasal spray can prevent individuals from spreading the virus and developing infections elsewhere in the body.”

The announcement also suggested that the vaccine would be crucial in fighting COVID-19 outside of the UK, as it quoted Lancaster University’s Dr Mohammed Rohaim, who said: “The scalability and economical production make this vaccine candidate suitable for low and middle income countries.”

Recommended articles by this writer:

LUSU’s VP Education announces resignation

‘We commend students taking part’: Lancs rent strike supported by JCRs and LUSU

Deputy VC’s response to ‘safety net’ petitions proves student wellbeing isn’t a priority