COVID-19 nasal vaccine: 3 notes

In a July 26 federal summit about the future of COVID-19 treatments, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, highlighted the importance of developing nasal vaccines. 

Here are three things to know:

1. It will be years before a nasal vaccine is authorized for the public because most of the research is early in its development, The Hill reported Aug. 2. 

2. A study published July 19 in Science Immunology counted neutralizing antibody titers in mice and found "very robust" mucosal immunity after giving the mice a nasal booster. By itself, the mRNA vaccine showed a strong antibody response but a weak mucosal immunity.

Although a parallel cannot be drawn between trials involving mice and those conducted in humans, the results indicate the mRNA vaccine and a nasal booster could quickly block viral infection. 

"Because most of the population already got the mRNA vaccine or has been exposed or contracted COVID, all we need is maybe to provide a nasal booster to really attract this preexisting immunity to the mucosal surface," Jie Sun, PhD, one of the study's authors and a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, told The Hill. "So it's like we'd have a guy at the door to immediately stop any bad guy from coming into the building."

3. Dr. Fauci also advised vaccine manufacturers to earmark developments for a universal vaccine — which would cover all COVID-19 variants — even though it could be years away. In the near future, the federal government is pushing for an updated vaccine targeting the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants — which account for most of the COVID-19 infections in the U.S. — to be ready by September.

 

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