As the race to develop the first effective vaccine against Covid-19 intensifies, China on Thursday gave a go-ahead for clinical trials of a nasal spray vaccine against the deadly viral infection.
As per reports in the Chinese official media, the phase 1 clinical trials of this nasal spray vaccine is likely to start in November. Authorities are recuruiting 100 volunteers for this.
Reporting the development, Chinese state-run Global Times said this is the only vaccine of its type to be approved by China’s National Medical Products Administration.
The vaccine is a collaborative mission between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. It involves researchers from the University of Hong Kong, Xiamen University, and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy.
Microbiologist from the University of Hong Kong, Yuen Kwok-yung, said the vaccine stimulates the natural infection pathway of respiratory viruses to activate the immune response.
“The nasal spray vaccination could generate double protection for vaccine recipients – influenza and the novel coronavirus – if it also contains influenza viruses including H1N1, H3N2 and B,” Yuen said, adding that it would take at least another year to finish the three clinical trials.
According to a report in CGTN, the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases has been working on this vaccine with Xiamen University and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy.
In a statement, the Hong Kong University said its vaccine strategy has been selected as one of the five vaccine technologies by the Ministry of Science and Technology for further evaluation.
The nasal spray vaccine uses live attenuated influenza vaccine; the other four technical routes China is using to develop the coronavirus vaccines are inactivated vaccines, adenoviral vector-based vaccines, and DNA and mRNA vaccines. The inactivated vaccine is estimated to be the earliest to be in the market.
However, it is not yet clear whether immunity generated from nasal spray vaccinations will last longer than for injected vaccines, the Global Times report said.
So far, China has approved clinical trials for three Covid-19 vaccine candidates. It has also authorised emergency usage of Covid-19 vaccines developed by some select domestic companies.
“We’ve drawn up a series of plan packages, including medical consent forms, side-effects monitoring plans, rescuing plans, compensation plans, to make sure the emergency use is well regulated and monitored,” Zheng Zhongwei, head of China’s coronavirus vaccine development task force told the official media in Beijing last month.
An emergency use authorisation, which is based on Chinese vaccine management law, allows unapproved vaccine candidates to be used among people who are at high risk of contracting the infection in a limited period.
The novel coronavirus, which originated from China’s Wuhan city in December last year, has claimed 904,485 lives and infected 2,79,02,002 globally. The US is the worst affected country with 190,887 deaths and 6,363,729 infections and India has the second highest number of cases.
(With inputs from .