Scientists are set to study the effectiveness of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine when administered with a nasal spray.
Oxford University will study the level of immune system responses produced by the vaccine using this delivery technique, as well as monitor safety and any side effects.
30 healthy volunteers from Oxford, ages 18 to 40, are given the vaccine via an intranasal sprayer, similar to many over-the-counter hay fever nasal sprays.
The Oxford AstraZeneca jab is currently being administered by intramuscular injection as part of the national rollout.
Dr. Sandy Douglas, who leads the study, said, “Some immunologists believe that delivering the vaccine to the site of infection may provide improved protection, especially against transmission and minor diseases.
“We hope that this small safety-oriented study will form the basis for future larger studies that will be needed to test whether administering the vaccine in this way protects against coronavirus infection.”
Dr. Douglas added, “There are a variety of people who find an intranasal delivery system more attractive, which may mean that vaccine intake is higher in these groups.
‘It could also have practical benefits – nasal sprays have been used successfully for other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine used in UK schools.’
Dr. Meera Madhavan, Senior Clinical Assistant at Jenner Institute, said, “This study will help us understand the safety and side effects of administering the Oxford / AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine through nasal spray.
“This is an important first step in expanding our range of options to contain the global spread and impact of Covid-19.”
Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute, said the results could show how effective the vaccine is in preventing episodes of disease and asymptomatic infections, and potentially helping to reduce transmission.