Oxford Studies Nasal Spray Coronavirus Vaccine


The University of Oxford is studying a nasal spray version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine among 30 young, healthy volunteers, and will assess the induced immune response, safety, and any side effects.

The early-stage trial will enroll adults ages 18 to 40 from the Oxford area, and the researchers will follow up for four months, according to a statement released Thursday.

“Some immunologists believe that administration of the vaccine at the site of infection may achieve greater protection, especially against transmission and mild disease,” Dr. Sandy Douglas, clinical scientist and principal investigator of the study, said in the statement. “We hope that this small safety-focused study lays the foundation for future larger studies that are needed to test whether giving the vaccine in this way protects against coronavirus infection.”

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Douglas suggested that the nasal spray might increase the absorption of the vaccine because some may prefer the method to an injection. He also hinted at the “practical advantages” the spray offers, which could help along with vaccination efforts in schools.

“[The nasal spray] it is an important first step toward increasing our range of options to reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19 globally, “added in part Dr. Meera Madhavan, principal clinical investigator at the Jenner Institute.

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AstraZeneca plans to apply for emergency clearance from the U.S. FDA for its vaccine in the coming weeks, though the company has faced major problems abroad after more than a dozen countries, mostly European, temporarily stopped injections due to reports of blood clots in some vaccinated people.

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UK and EU regulators have since confirmed that the vaccine does not increase the overall risk of blood clotting and actually probably reduces the risk because the COVID-19 disease itself is a precursor to clotting. However, the suspended campaigns affected confidence in vaccines, experts say. This week, the company faced scrutiny after the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said it may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data. Data published since then demonstrated 76% efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19.

The above data reflects a 79% efficacy in preventing symptomatic infections and a 100% efficacy in preventing serious illness and hospitalization. The new analysis also reported 100% efficacy “against serious or critical illness and hospitalization.”

Alexandria Hein of Fox News contributed to this report.

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