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Health Spotlight: New COVID vaccine via nasal drops

(WISH) — A new type of vaccine is available to fight COVD-19.

Continuing with the boosters and the vaccinations may be key to not getting the coronavirus. Now, immunization from COVID-19 could soon be as simple as a nasal drop.

Many people are now on their fifth COVID-19 vaccine jab. Dr. David Curiel with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis says he’s received the vaccines that were recommended per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He’s among researchers at Washington University who are working on nasal drops. They could be key to stopping the transmission of the virus before it enters the body.

The two main advantages: no needles and that it triggers an immune response in the nose and upper airway, right where the virus enters the body, blocking the infection and breaking the cycle of transmission, unlike the current vaccine.

Curiel said, “A systemic injection, like mRNA, will augment antibodies in the blood, not so much in the lung. Airway vaccination, nasal vaccination, augments antibodies in the nose and airways, and that’s a better defense.”

Without using mRNA, researchers are targeting fiber proteins on the virus. “We’re trying to engineer these proteins so that we can infect the nose even better than our present vaccine.”

It’s the world’s first internasal vaccine, approved in India as both a primary vaccine for COVID-19 and a booster, creating a defense against the coronavirus with a drop instead of a jab.

Curiel said, “The nasal drop vaccine is also quickly adaptable, so it can be quickly modified to match new variants that emerge of the COVID-19 virus. The nasal drops are already being manufactured in India, Europe, Japan, and should be ready to be presented to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States by the end of the year.”

By now, people either had the coronavirus or know someone who’s had it. To date, 104 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the United States with more than 1.1 million deaths. A total of 69% of the U.S. population are considered fully vaccinated. In Indiana, that figure is 55.5%.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.