Study: Intranasal COVID-19 vaccine completely protects mice against lethal COVID-19 infection

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A new study evaluating the potential of a single-dose, intranasal COVID-19 vaccine discovered that the vaccine completely protects mice against lethal COVID-19 infection. Additionally, the vaccine prevents the virus from being transmitted from animal to animal.

Science Advances published the findings

“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 at stopping disease and transmission,” said Paul McCray, MD, professor of paediatrics-pulmonary medicine, and microbiology and immunology at the UI Carver College of Medicine, and co-leader of the study.

He added, “If this new COVID-19 vaccine proves effective in people, it may help block SARS-CoV-2 transmission and help control the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Unlike other vaccines that require an injection, this one is administered via a nasal spray similar to those used to prevent influenza.

How does intranasal vaccines for Covid-19 work? | Bharat Biotech Covid19 vaccine

The vaccine used in the study requires only one dose and can be stored for at least three months at normal refrigerator temperatures. Because the vaccine is administered intranasally, it may also be more convenient to administer, particularly for those who have a fear of needles.

“We’ve been working on this vaccine platform for more than two decades, and we began developing new vaccine formulations to combat COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic,” says Biao He, PhD, a professor in the University of Georgia’s Department of Infectious Diseases in the College of Veterinary Medicine and co-leader of the study. “Our preclinical data demonstrate that this vaccine not only provides protection against infection, but also significantly reduces the risk of transmission.”

The experimental vaccine delivers the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein into cells via a harmless parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5), eliciting an immune response that protects against COVID-19 infection. PIV5 is related to common cold viruses and is capable of infecting a wide variety of mammals, including humans, without causing disease. Previously, the research team demonstrated that this vaccine platform is capable of completely protecting experimental animals against another dangerous coronavirus disease known as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

The team developed an inhaled PIV5 vaccine that targets mucosal cells that line the nasal passages and airways. These cells serve as the primary entry point for the majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections and the site of virus replication during the early stages of infection. Viruses produced in these cells have the potential to spread further into the lungs and other organs of the body, resulting in more severe disease. Additionally, viruses produced in these cells are easily shed via exhalation, allowing infection to spread from one infected person to another.

The study demonstrated that the vaccine elicited a localised immune response involving antibodies and cellular immunity that protected mice completely against lethal doses of SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, the vaccine protected ferrets from infection and disease and, more importantly, appeared to prevent COVID-19 transmission from infected ferrets to their unprotected and uninfected cage mates.

Along with McCray, UI researchers involved in the study included Kun Li, PhD, an associate research scientist who assisted in leading the small animal studies at Iowa that established the vaccine’s efficacy, and David Meyerholz, PhD, an associate professor of pathology at the University of Iowa.

CyanVac LLC, a startup company based at the University of Georgia, funded the research. CyanVac is developing vaccines based on the PIV5. McCray, who has no financial ties to CyanVac, was also assisted by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.

source: ANI

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