Positive results emerge for Covid nasal spray less than month after disappointing UK trial

American researchers may have found a way to reduce how easily Covid-19 spreads, and it’s in the form of a nasal spray. In a study undertaken by academics from Yale University found their nasal vaccine called Prime and Spike may be an effective booster, although more trials will be needed. The research came less than a month after AstraZeneca’s trial of the Oxford vaccine in nasal form fell through.

Since Covid reared its head, researchers have sought to create a nasal vaccine. The usual intramuscular vaccines have been shown to be effective at preventing hospitalisations, but they’re much poorer at preventing the spread of the virus.

Researchers have thought that they might be able to turn the nasal cavity and throat into an effective line of defence against the virus that prevents it from proliferating.

Last month, the results of an Astra Zeneca-funded trial of the Oxford vaccine in nasal spray form were published in The Lancet.

The trial gave the nasal vaccine to 12 people as a booster and 30 people who had not been given a vaccine before.

According to the study, the vaccine created a “weak” response in the immune system. The authors of it wrote that it was “insufficient to warrant further development”.

The Yale trial, which was published in October 27th, was far more successful. It found that rodents given the booster nasal vaccine were less likely to get infected.

In the study, one group of rodents received no vaccine, another received just an injected vaccine, while the last group received an injection as well as a nasal booster.

The rodents that were not boosted by the nasal vaccine or had no vaccine at all were way more likely to be infected.


According to the researchers, the Prime and Spike vaccine works by delivering the “spike” protein, which is specific to the virus, to the body after it has already been “primed” to spot the spike by the classic intramuscular vaccines.

Since it is already primed, the introduction of the spike triggers an immune response in the nasal cavity and lower respiratory tract that will enable it to defend against an incoming infection.

Tianyang Mao, a graduate student at Yale University School of Medicine told Yale News: “The goal here is to be able to establish these front-line cells that can immediately act upon and fight off infections when viruses first establish infection in the respiratory tissues.

“[This is the] reason why we are developing a mucosal vaccine instead of a more typical vaccine approach that is delivered to establish systemic immunity.”

The student celebrated the results, suggesting that it might confer benefits to healthcare clinics.

They said: “With Sars-Cov-2, with the pandemic still being ongoing, I think that creates a lot of momentum.

“I think we are in a really good place right now to push it forward and hopefully produce something that is translated into the clinic.”

But Covid is still highly infectious in the UK. According to the Zoe Health study, the most common symptom of Covid is a sore throat for people with two vaccinations.

The other most common symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Blocked nose
  • Persistent cough
  • Headache.

The traditional symptoms of Covid, such as loss of smell, shortness of breath and fever are a lot less common.

According to the study, shortness of breath is the sixth most common symptom while shortness of breath is down at 29th and fever at eighth.

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