Trials are about to get underway to assess the safety and efficacy of two coronavirus vaccines currently in development to see if they could be delivered via the airways, instead of being injected into muscles.
A clinical team from the Imperial Network for Vaccine Research, led by Dr Chris Chiu, will compare two vaccine candidates being developed by Imperial College London and Oxford University to see if they could be administered as airborne droplets, with the hope being that this could induce a more effective immune response.
Currently, trials are being carried out to assess the effectiveness of multiple vaccines delivered by intramuscular injection, but scientists are also keen to explore their potential for delivery to the respiratory tract. It’s possible that this could induce a localised and possibly more specialised immune response.
Dr Chiu explained that there is evidence that delivering flu vaccines using a nasal spray can protect people both against flu but also help reduce transmission and the team is now keen to explore if this could be similarly achieved where covid-19 is concerned.
“The current pandemic is caused by a respiratory virus which primarily infects people through the cells lining the nose, throat and lungs.
“These surfaces are specialised and produce a different immune response to the rest of the body, so it is critical we explore whether targeting the airways directly can provide an effective response compared to a vaccine injected into muscle,” he went on to say.
A total of 30 healthy volunteers are expected to be recruited for these trials, which will see the vaccines delivered as an aerosol, in much the same way that inhaled asthma medication is administered.
The study is now recruiting for healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 55, with trials due to begin at a facility in west London in the near future. Volunteers won’t be exposed deliberately to live or inactivated coronavirus for the study.
Imperial College London has also just joined an international coalition that is dedicated to protecting the world from future pandemics in the wake of 2020’s health emergency. The Trinity Challenge will provide access to £10 million in funding for innovations that could improve global responses and recovery from pandemics and other health threats.
The Challenge calls on participants to make use of data and analytics to learn and share lessons from the coronavirus crisis, driving innovation and advances in behavioural sciences, economics and epidemiology.
Launching the Challenge, Dame Sally Davies – former UK chief medical officer – observed that there will be another pandemic and now is the perfect opportunity for the international community to learn lessons and prepare for future events.
For help with life science recruitment, get in touch with the team here at Agenda Life Sciences today.