Oxford to test inhaled version of COVID-19 vaccine

March 26, 2021

Oxford University is launching a study to investigate immune responses of a nasal administration of its COVID-19 vaccine developed with AstraZeneca.

The same vaccine, CHADOX1 NCOV-19, that is currently being delivered by intramuscular injection as part of the national rollout will be tested in an initial trial using a nasal spray, with 30 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 40.

This comes on the heels of declining confidence in the Oxford-AZ vaccine, after reports of blood clots caused countries across Europe to halt distribution, with the most recent scare coming out of Denmark, where two people reportedly suffered brain hemorrhages after receiving the vaccine. The EMA, however, has concluded that the vaccine remains “safe and effective,” but could not rule out a link to the small number of blood clot cases.

If successful, this newest trial could extend the reach of the vaccine delivery program by making it potentially quicker and less off-putting for people with a fear of needles to be vaccinated. AstraZeneca already markets a FluMist nasal flu vaccine.

In late February, U.S.-based Altimmune also announced a phase 1 trial of a COVID nasal spray — an adenovirus-vector vaccine designed to stimulate a broad immune response including both antibody and T-cell responses in the nasal cavity and respiratory tract, the point of entry for the virus.