Nasal Covid Vaccines To Be A Game-changer: Scientists

In mice, a prospective COVID-19 vaccination that is administered by the nose shows promise.

One day you might only need to scent to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Professors of radiology Ramasamy Paulmurugan and Tarik Massoud are leading an initiative to thwart the coronavirus at its most common entry point: the nose.

According to Massoud, administering an intramuscular shot to the arm is the ideal method of immunization. But that’s actually a deceptively indirect method of creating a barrier against a respiratory illness. Theoretically, we believed that protecting the site of infection may result in a stronger response.

Scientists Say Nasal Covid Vaccines Can Change The Game With Ease Of Use And Cost-Effectiveness

The aerosolized vaccine developed by the team has only yet been administered to mice through their snouts, but it has shown promise in preventing a pseudovirus that closely resembles SARS-CoV-2.

The intranasal spray’s defense is powered by gold nanoparticles that contain harmless, virus-mimicking DNA fragments. These nanoparticles cause a generation of antibodies to be produced as well as other immune cells that remember the invader so they can quickly identify and eliminate the threat.

Nasal Covid Vaccines To Be A Game-changer: Scientists

Along with generating strong immunity, the molecules produced by the spray also serve as a physical barrier against viral infection, reducing the quantity of virus that may enter the nasal passages and move into the lungs and potentially lowering transmission to others.

The objective, according to Paulmurugan, is to develop an intranasal COVID-19 vaccination that is stable, long-lasting, and capable of self-administration without the assistance of medical personnel. Although the early findings are promising, he claimed that it is still too early for the general population to consider forgoing a shot in favor of a spray. He and Massoud are hopeful that a human trial will take place soon though.

A paper outlining the work that was released in ACS Nano on October 27. Senior authors Massoud and Paulmurugan work together. Uday Kumar, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher, is the main author.

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Brain Tumour To Nasal Vaccines 

Neither Paulmurugan nor Massoud set out to develop a novel COVID-19 vaccine; they are not trained, immunologists. In the spring of 2020, the two were assiduously pursuing therapy for glioblastoma, a form of brain tumor, that depended on their gold nanoparticle research, precisely as workplaces were closing up and toilet paper was running out.

Tiny, inhalable gold particles were chosen as their preferred delivery system after extensive research on how to get molecules across the blood-brain barrier, a notoriously finicky neurological sieve that keeps undesirable molecules out of the brain.

In our studies, we sedated the mice and administered the treatment nanoparticles through the nose; the nanoparticles were then taken up by nerves in the nasal tube and transported to the brain, according to Massoud. But Paulmurugan observed an oddity during one of these tests. The nanoparticles did not get to the brain in mice with faster breathing rates; instead, they went to the lungs.

When the epidemic first started, Massoud recalled, “we thought, ‘Wow, this would be wonderful if we could exchange the glioblastoma treatment for a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.’” It was an entirely accidental occurrence; it was pure serendipity that it did.

18 months later, the two have shown in mice the viability of a COVID-19 nasal spray immunization based on DNA and gold nanoparticles. (While a few other researchers are working on an intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, none are using gold nanoparticles to transfer DNA, to the researchers’ knowledge.)

References:

🔵National Library Of Medicine (n.d) COVID-19 intranasal vaccines: current progress, advantages, prospects, and challenges (Available On):pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35258416/

🔵Science Direct (n.d) Intranasal vaccines for SARS-CoV-2: From challenges to potential in COVID-19 management (Available On):www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359644621003317

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