Oxford University Starts Human Trials For Intranasal AstraZe
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The University of Oxford has started the phase 1 clinical trials on 54 healthy adults to investigate intranasal inoculation with the vaccine it developed with AstraZeneca after positive findings of the studies done on hamsters and rhesus macaques, said a group of researchers. Intranasal vaccines are administered through syringes, nasal sprays or aerosol delivery straight into the nasal cavity. The most commonly used intranasal vaccine is the influenza vaccine.

This mode of vaccination is easier to administer than the current intra-muscular injection. In the two animal studies, the intranasal vaccine has been found to reduce the viral load and lessen the impact on the lungs. Unlike the previous vaccines, this vaccine was tested on hamsters on an early mutation (D614G) of the nCoV spike protein and was found to reduce the viral load in nasal swabs.

Dr Nanasaheb Thorat, a Marie-Curie fellow at Oxford, said the intranasal method would be a game-changer with possibly lesser side-effects. He said that since the vaccine, which is already in use, has been tried through a different route of administration, it would need fewer approvals.

Oxford University started the human trials after the researchers, who designed the vaccine, found that viral loads in swabs obtained from intra-nasally vaccinated hamsters were lower, and no viral RNA or infectious virus was found in the lung tissue after a direct challenge or after direct contact with infected hamsters. The research paper was published earlier this month.

The researchers said the data presented in the paper supports the investigation of intranasal delivery of Covid-19 vaccines. The data presented demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2-specific mucosal immunity is possible after intranasal vaccination and results in a reduction in virus detection in nasal swabs in hamsters.