NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The idea of a COVID-19 booster as a nasal spray instead of an injection could appeal to many people. A new kind of booster by Yale researcher Akiko Iwasaki, Ph.D. is a nasal spray.
“The nose is where the infection happens, you inhale viral particles emitted by someone else. The particle lodges onto the surface of the nose inside the mucus,” Iwasaki said.
She said that’s how the COVID virus enters the body, so the idea is to generate an immune response right at the entry site shutting the virus down.
“That can prevent infection and transmission as opposed to just preventing from severe disease, which is what the current vaccines are very good at doing.”
Iwasaki said the nasal booster spray does not work alone. It would be a booster, and it could possibly work in unvaccinated people who have had COVID-19.
Human trials are needed and its efficacy proven for FDA approval, but the potential is great. Early animal trials have seen 100% effectiveness.
The spray does not need freezer storage and could be easily accessible.
“People can expect to get the nasal booster either at the doctors’ office or possibly even at home,” Iwasaki said. “it’s just a nasal spray that’s easy to administer.”
The nasal spray is just the spike protein and solution. Iwasaki also hopes it would appeal to people afraid of needles who need to get boosted as well as children.
She described the nasal spray as a totally different way of approaching vaccinations.
“Preventing transmission will present a huge way of controlling this pandemic and potentially future pandemics,” Iwasaki said.
The process has been licensed to a start-up company that Iwasaki is part of. They hope to partner with a pharmaceutical company to manufacture the spray vaccine if it eventually gets approval.