Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – China begins testing its newest vaccine. Volunteers who are the object of a vaccine trial will not get a painful shot. Instead, the vaccine will be sprayed through the nose.
China agreed on Wednesday to conduct Phase I human testing for a nasal spray vaccine. Where this vaccine was developed jointly by researchers at Xiamen University and the University of Hong Kong, as well as by vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co.
Previously, this intranasal spray has been developed as a vaccine against the flu and is recommended for use among children and adults who wish to avoid needle injections.
While this is not the most common choice, scientists around the world are working to develop sprays as an alternative to muscle injections for all vaccines.
The intranasal vaccine is the 10th candidate from China to proceed to an important stage of human testing. The country is building on its lead in vaccine development after the western front runner AstraZeneca Plc had to stop late-stage human trials investigating spinal cord disease in someone who received its experimental injection.
The intranasal spray contains attenuated flu viruses that carry genetic segments of the coronavirus spike protein. Administered through the nasal passages, it mimics the natural infection of a respiratory virus to stimulate the body’s immune response to the pathogen that causes Covid-19, according to the Science and Technology Daily, a paper affiliated with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
Some scientists hope a vaccine that is sprayed through the nose has a better chance of stopping the spread of the harmful virus through the respiratory tract. Needle injections can generate a systematic immune response to prevent severe disease, but may not be strong enough to ward off infection.
Preclinical studies have shown nasal vaccines can significantly reduce lung damage in mice and hamsters when challenged with Covid-19, Science and Technology Daily reports.
The nasal spray vaccine joins some 35 other candidates currently in human testing, as the global race to be the first with a vaccine effective against deadly pathogens increases.
After AstraZeneca’s decline, China’s most advanced vaccine developers, including CanSino Biologics Inc. and China National Biotec Group Co. state owned, have emphasized the safety of their own injections.
CNBG said the two injections tested were effective in preventing infection. No Chinese diplomats and workers traveling to virus hotspots overseas have reported infections months after receiving the vaccine, said Zhou Song, CNBG’s general counsel, in an article published in Science and Technology Daily.
CanSino, which uses a vaccine-making technique similar to AstraZeneca’s, said the military-backed fire was safe and did not cause severe side effects in testing.
CanSin co-founder and chief scientist Zhu Tao defended the vaccine against criticism that it appeared to trigger fewer antibodies than those produced by rivals including AstraZeneca and Moderna Inc. According to him, the variation in antibody readings was the result of using different measurement methods.