China authorizes human trials for coronavirus nasal spray vaccine

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China has approved the first phase of human trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine administered by nasal spray.

Inoculation is under development by researchers at Xiamen University, University of Hong Kong and vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, according to Bloomberg News.

He is the 10th Chinese candidate to take the crucial stage of human testing.

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The spray contains strains of the weakened influenza virus with genetic segments of the coronavirus spike protein. Once in the body, it mimics the natural infection of respiratory viruses to stimulate the body’s immune response against the pathogen responsible for COVID-19, reports Science and Technology Daily. The newspaper is affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.

The hope is that a vaccine sprayed through the nose may have a better chance of stopping the virus in the respiratory tract, while a vaccine may not be strong enough to ward off the infection.

Staff members check and clean equipment at a vaccine production plant operated by SinoPharm in Beijing. (Zhang Yuwei / Xinhua via AP)

Encouraging animal testing has strengthened the concept.

A study published last month by researchers at Washington University St. Louis School of Medicine concluded that a nasal vaccine prevented infection in mice – significantly reducing lung damage – and that the spray was more effective in repelling the virus.

Intranasal sprays are already used to prevent influenza, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has emphasized their usefulness.

The World Health Organization reports that at least 35 coronavirus vaccine trials are currently underway across the world.

A major study by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, however, was halted this week after researchers said a participant reported “potentially unexplained illness”.

In the wake of AstraZeneca’s setback, China’s own developers – CanSino Biologics Inc. and state-owned China National Biotec Group Co. – have reassured consumers about the safety of their own injections.

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None of the Chinese diplomats who have visited virus-susceptible areas overseas have reported infection months after receiving CNBG vaccines, their general counsel told Science and Technology Daily.

According to MarketWatch, seven vaccine candidates have entered clinical trials with human participants, three of which have entered a critical phase of development.

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