(Funny how things come in batches. Often the newsletter is all climate-tech but this week it’s COVID-o-rama)
From Dartmouth Health: In collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Belgium-based viral vector manufacturer Exothera, a team of researchers at Dartmouth Health’s Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine are working to develop the first intranasal COVID-19 vaccine brought to market. Led by DHMC infectious disease and international health physician Peter F. Wright, MD, this nasal-spray vaccine will not require refrigeration and does not need to be administered by a medical professional, making it a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 in developing parts of the world.
DHMC is the sole U.S. research and development site for this novel vaccine. Clinical trials are planned in the U.S. and Africa. Intranasal vaccines show great potential to slow the transmission of COVID-19 as they have been used successfully in the past against other pathogens that enter the body via mucous membranes, including measles, rubella and other respiratory viruses.
“We are pleased to join this collaborative effort to develop and assess the safety, immunogenicity, and effectiveness of an adenovirus type 4 based vaccine expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as a novel approach to the prevention of COVID-19,” said Wright, who is also a professor of pediatrics at Geisel. “Although unique in the COVID field, the vaccine has precedent in the highly successful prevention of adenovirus respiratory disease in the United States military.”
Despite the rapid development of injectable COVID-19 vaccines, a majority of low-income and lower-middle-income countries were unable to achieve proper population coverage during initial vaccine rollouts. Even now, the percentage of the population fully vaccinated is below the level necessary to prevent continued transmission. A vaccine that can be administered by anyone via nasal spray is anticipated to be highly effective in interrupting the transmission of COVID-19, as has been done successfully with oral drops given globally to prevent polio.