One dose of an inhaled COVID-19 vaccine showed success in animal studies, researchers say, possibly opening the door for another option that’s easier to administer than the traditional needle shots. The vaccine, dubbed PIV5, was developed using a platform previously used for influenza vaccines and targets mucosal cells that line the nasal passages and airways.
In a recent study involving mice, researchers from the University of Iowa and University of Georgia found it fully protected the animals from lethal COVID-19 infection and blocked animal-to-animal transmission of the virus in ferrets. Results were published July 2 in the journal Science Advances.
“We have been developing this vaccine platform for more than 20 years, and we began working on new vaccine formulations to combat COVID-19 during the early days of the pandemic,” said Biao He, 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 show that this vaccine not only protects against infection but also significantly reduces the chances of transmission.”
The vaccine was stable for up to three months when stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, the researchers said.
“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 Dr. Paul McCray, professor of pediatrics-pulmonary medicine as well as microbiology and immunology at the UI Carver College of Medicine, a co-leader of the study. “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.”
Several nasal vaccines are in the works and have reached clinical trials, but none have been submitted for authorization yet.