China approves 1st human trials for COVID-19 nasal spray vaccine


China on Wednesday approved Phase 1 human testing of a COVID-19 nasal spray vaccine being developed by researchers at Xiamen University, Hong Kong University, and vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co. Children and some adults already get a nasal spray vaccine for the flu, and recent research from Washington University School of Medicine suggested a nasal vaccine was actually more effective than an injection at protecting mice against COVID-19 infections.

This is the first nasal spray vaccine candidate for COVID-19 to be tested in humans, and preliminary studies showed it can significantly reduce lung damage in infected mice and hamsters, according to Science and Technology Daily, a newspaper linked to China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, Bloomberg News reports. The intranasal vaccine aims to promote a natural immune response to the coronavirus by combining the new virus’ spike proteins with a weakened flu virus.

China now has 10 vaccines in human trials, including four in Phase 3 trials. The U.S. has three Phase 3 trials underway, although AstraZeneca and Oxford University paused their final-stage trial in the U.S. and elsewhere this week to investigate a spinal cord illness in one of its vaccine subjects. “Chinese drugmakers have taken their research abroad because the outbreak at home has been under control for months,” The New York Times reports, but Beijing is also effectively using the promise of priority access to a vaccine and loans “in a charm offensive aimed at repairing damaged ties and bringing friends closer in regions China deems vital to its interests.”

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Source:: The Week – Business


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