- To make the vaccination process simpler and faster, researchers are working to develop the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines, namely in pill and nasal spray forms.
- Historically other vaccines started as injections but oral vaccines were developed.
- More research is needed to find out if these oral or nasal spray vaccines will be as effective as injectable vaccines.
The three COVID-19 vaccines approved in the United States may be critical in bringing the pandemic under control in the near future.
However, although these vaccines, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna, are successful, they do have some drawbacks.
Both of them necessitate an injection, which can make people who are afraid of needles very reluctant to get the shot. Additionally, the three vaccines are associated with side effects such as fever, flu-like symptoms, and arm soreness.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccination has been halted until authorities examine highly unusual blood clots linked to the vaccine.
Researchers are working to create the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines, specifically in pill and nasal spray formulations, to make the vaccination process easier and quicker.
These next-generation vaccines will aid in the eradication of the coronavirus worldwide.
What we know about the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines so far
“At this time, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are injectable. Several vaccine manufacturers have started initial development of a nasal vaccine spray,” said Dr. Javeed Siddiqui, co-founder and chief medical officer at TeleMed2U.
He added, “Nasal spray vaccine could be available as soon as 2022 started, but this is extremely variable depending on therapeutic viability and vaccine success in clinical trials.”
According to Siddiqui, Future vaccine generations are expected to require action against virus variants.
Five firms are producing oral vaccines, according to FasterCures, a Milken Institute center that is currently monitoring the production of COVID-19 vaccines. Two of these firms have progressed to phase 1 clinical trial.
Five of the 13 organizations developing a nasal spray vaccine are in early clinical trials.
“It’s thrilling. It demonstrates how science, government, and academics are working together to better what we have,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease researcher at Vanderbilt University and the medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
“What we know from the current vaccines are which parts of the virus are important in order to stimulate an immune response,” he said.
How the original COVID-19 vaccines work
The new COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, help our bodies establish immunity by providing them with “memory” T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes. These white blood cells remember how to combat the coronavirus if it ever enters your body again.
Three forms of COVID-19 vaccines are currently approved in the United States, but due to the possibility of triggering a rare blood clot in a relatively small proportion of the population, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been partially halted.
The mRNA vaccine is one such vaccine. It produces viral content that instructs our cells to produce a coronavirus-specific protein in order to combat it in the future.
The protein subunit vaccination is another choice. Instead of the whole germ, it contains harmless viral proteins. Following vaccines, the body learns the antigen and remembers how to combat it.
The vector vaccine is the third kind. It has a new variant of another virus. If the viral vector is within the egg, the cells generate a protein and then duplicate it, prompting our bodies to produce T- and B-lymphocytes that will shield us from the coronavirus.
How a nasal spray or pill could protect you from COVID-19
Columbia University researchers have developed a Covid-19 nasal spray that could help in the prevention of the spread of the virus until the vaccine is made available to the general population.
The nasal spray can be inhaled so as to prevent the infection from proliferating any further.
The researchers conducted an experiment on ferrets along with a 3D model of human beings. The effect of the nasal spray lasted for 24 hours, proving its efficacy.
According to a health site report, the nasal spray is less expensive and requires no refrigeration.
The nasal spray constitutes a lipid and peptide combination that prevents the SARS-CoV-2 from clinging onto a cell’s membrane. The spray blocks a key protein from transforming into a particular shape.
The spray still needs to be tested on humans to confirm its effectiveness before rolling it out for the public.
The aim is to provide both long-term security and protection from variants.
Altimmune is another company working on a next-generation vaccine. This one would be a nasal spray.
A nasal delivery system is intended to elicit an immune response at the point of virus entry into the body. Resulting in mucosal immunity in the nasal cavity.
What will the next generation of vaccines mean for the future of COVID-19?
It is too soon to tell whether these vaccines will be as safe as the first wave of injectable vaccines.
However, previous cases have demonstrated that an injectable vaccine should be supplemented by an oral dose.
The Polio vaccine was first made available as an injectable in 1953. To effectively eliminate the poliovirus from the world an oral version was created nine years.
“We are on the verge of eradicating [polio] from the world. We’re working on something similar to an oral rotavirus vaccine. We had a nasal flu vaccine, which had its ups and downs,” Schaffner said. “It’s not a straight line here, but precedents exist.”
New vaccines that are easier to deliver and target viral types may either suggest that the coronavirus is on its way out, or that there is a better way to deter infection or mitigate its effects.
“If you could easily administer vaccines to a large number of people using an inexpensive nasal spray or pill. You could deliver vaccines to a large number of people very easily. In order to administer injections, you would not require qualified personnel. “All problems of properly using needles and syringes will vanish,” Schaffner said.
The ability to keep the vaccine at room temperature will also make administration much easier.
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