The current batch of COVID-19 vaccines effectively prevents severe disease and death and offers substantial protection against the variants. But the authorized vaccines are not 100 percent effective at blocking all infections. To address this deficit, scientists are exploring new ways of delivering vaccines that yield stronger and more durable immunity against SARS-CoV-2. One promising approach might be to trade a jab in the arm for a spritz up the nose.
Over the past several months, as some manufacturers are preparing booster shots to deliver a third dose, a handful of promising studies have revealed the effectiveness of intranasal vaccines in mice, ferrets, hamsters, and non-human primates. Further along are six candidate COVID-19 vaccines, administered as nasal sprays, that are currently in phase 1 clinical trials. And, just this week, at the meeting of the American Society for Virology, Meissa Vaccines announced that a single dose of their intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate showed promising results in non-human primates. If these vaccines come to market, immunologists say that might offer better protection because they more closely resemble the way the virus naturally infects us—through the mucous membranes of the nose and upper airways. And immunologists say this makes a difference in the immune response.
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