Because of the way they provide protection, nasal vaccines could be the best long-term way to prevent COVID-19 infection, according to experts cited in The New York Times.
The Times reported that India-based Bharat Biotech, which has the Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine authorized in India and elsewhere, has an experimental COVID-19 nasal vaccine that may offer even stronger protection than injectable vaccines.
Previous evidence has demonstrated that intranasal vaccines offer potential advantages over traditional intramuscular vaccines. They can stimulate immunoglobulin A production, which can avert infection, as noted in a 2021 Scientific American article. Intranasal vaccines would likely generate mucosal immunity, reducing the virus’s odds to take root in the respiratory tract as the coronavirus first lands in the mucosal linings of the airways.
The New York Times reports that at least a dozen other nasal vaccines are in development around the world, but Bharat Biotech’s offering represents potentially the first of the lot to become available after it won approval last month to begin a Phase 3 trial in India, with the nasal spray to be used a booster for people who have already received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Aside from the potential scientific benefits of the intranasal vaccine in the fight against the virus, the practical benefits further strengthen its case. Immunizing populations with a nasal or oral vaccine would be faster than injections, The New York Times said, as injections require skill and more time to administer. Additionally, a nasal vaccine would likely appeal more, particularly to children, compared to shots, and would alleviate the struggle surrounding shortages of needles, syringes and other components of injectable vaccines.