The trial of a new vaccination method could start next week, with scientists hoping it will be quicker and less off-putting than a needle in the arm
The pain of having a coronavirus jab could be taken away after Oxford University scientists appealed for participants to test a new vaccine administered by nasal spray.
The team is reportedly aiming to begin a phase one trial of around 30 healthy adults aged up to 40, which could start as early as next week. Participants will receive at least one intranasal dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with half the group then randomized to receive a booster dose.
If successful, the trial could extend the reach of the vaccine delivery programme by making it potentially quicker and less off-putting for people with a fear of needles to be vaccinated.
It comes after The Telegraph revealed that children could start receiving the Covid vaccine as early as August.
The annual flu vaccine is already offered to children via an intranasal method as a way to maximize take-up. Scientists also hope that a nasal spray vaccine could cut transmission rates more than injections because the Sars-Cov-2 virus is predominantly passed on from the upper airways.
Dr. Sandy Douglas, clinician-scientist and chief investigator of the Oxford study, said: “There are a variety of people who will find an intranasal delivery system more appealing, which may mean vaccine uptake is higher in those groups. It might also have practical advantages – nasal sprays have been used successfully for other vaccines, for example, the flu vaccine used in UK schools.”
A similar spray is being developed for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, the head of the Gamaleya Institute said this week.
Meanwhile, Pfizer has begun early-stage human trials of a non-vaccine pill to treat the first signs of Covid infection, the company announced on Tuesday. If the trials are successful, the pill could be prescribed to people recently infected with coronavirus to block viral replication and stop them from becoming seriously ill.