A trial vaccine for Covid-19, which is delivered up the nose, provides better protection than an injection, according to a new study in hamsters by German researchers.
The team at Freie Universität Berlin, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and the Max Delbrück Center, all EARA members, targets the vaccine to the mucosal membranes found in the nose, mouth, throat and lungs.
Hamsters are important for studying Covid-19, because they are naturally infected by the same variants of the virus as people and can develop similar symptoms.
The researchers used the nasal vaccine on hamsters with Covid-19 and found that it stopped the virus replicating in the animals after two doses.
Targeting the mucosal membranes means the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be tackled where it first enters the body where the body’s immune system is more effective at fighting the infection.
The researchers also compared the effect of hamsters given the nasal vaccine compared to a vaccine injected into the muscle and found that the former performed better on all counts.
The treatment is now being prepared for human clinical trials.