Intranasal vaccines could be the next best thing in the fight against COVID-19

Sept. 23, 2021

Two companies announced that their intranasal COVID-19 vaccines have shown positive results in early trials.

The two candidates, developed by Codagenix and pHOXBIO, could potentially be more effective than shots due to their ability to generate mucosal immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the nose where it initiates and replicates. 

This week, Codagenix announced that topline safety and immunogenicity data from its phase I dose-escalation trial of its single-dose intranasal COVI-VAC vaccine was positive. Although the company did not divulge the exact details of the readout, it said that data will likely be released in Q3 or Q4 this year. 

In a release, Codagenix CEO and co-founder, Robert Coleman, said in a report that their vaccine, “appears to block surrogate SARS-CoV-2 replication in the nose before it reaches the lower airways or lungs. This is likely achieved by stimulating both a systemic and mucosal immune response, highlighting the value of an intranasal, live-attenuated vaccine model.” 

Meanwhile, London-based pHOXBIO also reported results from a pivotal phase 2/3 study of its novel prophylactic nasal spray, which trialed high-risk health care workers in India during the country’s peak surge. The vaccine had a 63% percent efficacy rate against SARS-CoV-2 compared to a placebo. In addition, the trial also hit its secondary endpoint of showing a reduction in symptoms. In the study, 17.6% of those who took the vaccine who were still infected by COVID-19 experienced symptoms versus 34.6% in the placebo arm.

pHOXBIO plans to file a SARS-CoV-2 prevention claim with Indian regulators, which it intends to follow in other territories. Both could be a vital part in help mitigating the virus in areas where vaccine rollout remains inadequate.