More than two years after the Covid-19 pandemic, a new type of vaccine began to be introduced, which does not depend on injections, and targets the site of entry of the Corona virus into the body, which is the nose area.
One such vaccine, developed by Washington University in St. Louis, was recently approved in India for use in boosters as well as primary doses.
What does entering these vaccines mean as a tool in the war against the virus, and what distinguishes them from traditional vaccines, and are there other countries that are candidates to use them? This is what Michael Diamond, Professor of Molecular Microbiology, Pathology and Immunology at the University of Washington, and head of the research team behind the invention of the vaccine, will answer in his interview with Al Ain news.
First of all, we would like to congratulate you on the official approval of the use of your vaccine in India.. What does this step represent to you?
There is no doubt that it is good news that our nasal vaccine has been approved for use in India, but we are waiting for another news, which is that the vaccine will obtain approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency, so that it can be marketed in Europe and America.
How did you get approval for its use in India?
The party that obtained that approval is Bharat Biotech International, which obtained from the University of Washington the right to produce and market the vaccine worldwide, with the exception of the United States and Europe.
Do you expect other countries to join the use of this vaccine?
I believe that Bharat has submitted a request to the World Health Organization to expand the scope of marketing this vaccine globally.
What is the difference between this vaccine and traditional vaccines?
The main advantage of the nasal vaccine, other than that it does not require a needle, is that it triggers an immune response in the nose and upper airway, as the virus enters the body, and the vaccine has the potential to prevent infection and break the cycle of transmission. These vaccines are easier to circulate and use than other vaccines, the use of which requires trained medical personnel.
One of the problems with some types of traditional vaccines is that they need to be stored in specialized refrigerators that may not be available in many poor countries, so what about your vaccine?
From this point of view, the vaccine can be stored in conventional refrigerators, and this is a very important advantage.
There are reports that nasal vaccines don’t last long.
Our experiments in animal models indicate that there is prolonged immunity, and Bharat in India is monitoring the situation with humans who have received the vaccine.
And how, then, was the vaccine approved for use in India before this information was known?
Approval of marketing the vaccine, as happened with other vaccines, does not require a long wait to find out the duration of immunity provided by the vaccine, we just need to wait for several months, and make sure during trials that the vaccine is safe and does not cause health problems.
How many people participated in these experiments?
The vaccine has been licensed for use in India based on data from clinical trials conducted by Bharat Biotech International. About 3,100 people have participated in studies related to the use of the vaccine in the initial doses. Another 875 people who have already received two doses of two other vaccines have participated in the booster vaccine trials. .
Is it better to use the vaccine in the initial or booster doses?
In both, it was approved in India in September for use as an initial two-dose series, and more recently it was approved for use in India also for booster doses.
Finally: How are these nasal vaccines produced?
It is produced in cell culture and then the cells are purified by centrifugation, to extract the components of the vaccine, and it is an easy-to-adapt method, meaning that any new variants of the virus appear later, this method can quickly allow us to produce vaccines that deal with it.