Immunization efforts have done wonders to slow the spread of Covid and the rate of hospitalizations and serious cases of infection. The plummet in serious cases has been music to the ears of patients and medical professionals alike, even though strains of the virus have evolved to sneak around inoculation and infect people while causing less severe symptoms.
This does remain a problem for the country as there are still hospitalizations and medical professionals’ valuable time being taken up. However, medical researchers are working to create a harder barrier between patients and the virus, and they are doing this with a nasal spray.
The gateway to the body
A big issue with current inoculations is that they create immunity for the virus once it’s already in the human system. While this has been effective, the idea behind nasal inoculation is that it will create a stronger immunity in the nose and throat, the entry point of the virus.
“If you think of your body as a castle, an intramuscular vaccination is really protecting the inner areas of your castle so once invaders come in, that immunity protects against them taking the throne,” said Dr Sean Liu, medical director of the Covid clinical trials unit at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. “But if you train your immune system to work at the gates of the castle, then the invaders not only have trouble getting in, but they may have trouble spreading inside.”
Not only that, but nasal sprays will also be more appealing to patients and children who might be nervous about needle injections.
Liu is currently running a trial on an intranasal inoculation which would work much like the successful AstroZeneca intranasal for flu, the only successful one on the market so far.
The trouble has been in adapting the RNA method to work in a nasal spray. It could work in theory but delivering the inoculation via nasal spray means it needs to absorb into the mucus and work its way into all the cells. There is also a requirement for the intranasal to have a long-lasting and robust immunity response, which has proven difficult to achieve so far with intranasal instead of injections.
A good development in any case
Findings will soon be available as to the efficacy of these new intranasal inoculations. Even if the intranasal creates only a few-months-long immunity, as some experts hypothesize it will, they expect this will make for a very effective seasonal booster to help slow the spread of the virus during high seasons. This will go a long way toward reducing the spread, the harm to people’s health, and the strain on our hospitals and medical professionals.