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China Develops Nasal Spray Vaccines for COVID-19

Pratheek S

15th September 2020

Clinical trials of the vaccines to begin in China (Source: India Today)

As the mayhem of the outbreak of COVID-19 continues across the world, China has officially agreed to develop the first-ever nasal-spray vaccine for the novel Coronavirus. The trials are likely to begin this week, according to Hindustan Times.

The nasal-spray vaccine does not require painful injections as opposed to other vaccines proposed by pharmaceutical companies, whose clinical trials had to come to a halt after people refused to volunteer for it. This week, the vaccine was approved for Phase-1 of human testing. It is being jointly developed by Xiamen University and Hong Kong University, along with vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co.

According to The Times of India, Yuen Kwonk-Yung, a microbiologist from Hong Kong University claims that the vaccine vitalizes the natural infection pathway of the viruses in the respiratory system to trigger the immune response. He added that it could also rectify influenza viruses such as H1N1, H3N2, and B in the system if presentproviding double protection.

Yung speculates that it would take another year to complete the three phases of trials. In addition, he suspects that the vaccine may have side-effects in the respiratory system such as asthma and shortness of breath, although there may not be systematic side-effects.

So far, three COVID positive candidates have been approved for the clinical trials. It has also been approved for emergency usage and is to be developed by select companies, reports India Today. Chinese vaccine management law authorises emergency use for unapproved candidates, enabling people who are at high risk of contracting the infection to get the vaccination.

"We've drawn up a series of plan packages, including medical consent forms, side-effects monitoring plans, rescuing plans, and compensation plans to make sure the emergency use is well regulated and monitored,” said Zheng Zhongwei, the head of China’s coronavirus vaccine development task force, according to The Times of India.

Simultaneously, AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish pharmaceutical company, has resumed trials after having faced setbacks with the candidate trials. However, there are still concerns about the short longevity of the Chinese vaccine spray when compared to injected vaccines.

(Sources: The Times of India, Hindustan Times, India Today)

Edited by Nayana Dhanya

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