Nasal Spray Vaccine for COVID-19 in Early Trials

TUESDAY, Jan. 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A spritz instead of a shot to ward off COVID-19? Researchers report that a nasal spray vaccine against the new coronavirus shows promise in animal testing.

Rodents that were given two doses of the vaccine had antibody and T-cell responses that were strong enough to suppress SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The vaccine also reduced lung damage, inflammation and disease severity in the rodents, according to scientists from Lancaster University in England and Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio.

“We found that administering this vaccine through a nasal spray completely protected the animals from shedding the virus which causes transmission of the virus. This means the immunization of the upper respiratory tract through a nasal spray can prevent individuals from spreading the virus and developing infections elsewhere in the body,” said study author Muhammad Munir, a Lancaster University virologist.

“Though the vaccine showed promising safety and efficacy in this animal model, human trials are still required to determine its applicability and to obtain regulatory approvals,” Munir added in a university news release.

The nasal spray vaccine is based on a common poultry virus called the Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), which can replicate in humans but is harmless. The research team engineered NDV to produce the spike proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to prime the body’s immune system to attack the coronavirus.

Their findings were published recently on BioRxiv, a preprint server for research that hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed.

There are a number of advantages to a nasal spray vaccine, including it being noninvasive, triggering local immunity, and being an alternative for people who are afraid of needles or have blood clotting disorders, according to the researchers.

They noted that there’s already a nasal spray vaccine for seasonal flu, so this type of vaccination has been proven to be effective.

A nasal spray vaccine for COVID-19 could provide a low-cost alternative for the developing world, because it could be produced using existing worldwide infrastructure for seasonal flu virus vaccines, the researchers suggested.

“The scalability and economical production make this vaccine candidate suitable for low- and middle-income countries,” said study author Mohammed Rohaim, also from Lancaster University.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 vaccines.

SOURCE: Lancaster University, news release, Jan. 13, 2021

COVID Rates Lower Than Thought for Pregnant Women

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A new study suggests the rate of COVID-19 among pregnant women without symptoms is much lower than previously reported.

Fewer than 3% of asymptomatic women admitted to three Yale New Haven Health hospitals for labor and delivery during April tested positive for COVID-19 infection.

That contrasts with a 13.5% rate reported in a study of asymptomatic pregnant women admitted to hospitals in New York City, an epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

The new study included 770 hospital patients who hadn’t previously been diagnosed with coronavirus infection. Of those, 30 tested positive for COVID-19. Of those who tested positive, 22 had no symptoms — meaning the rate of positive tests among asymptomatic women was 2.9%.

No patients who tested negative for COVID-19 developed symptoms or required further testing, and no health care workers on the obstetric units had to stop work due to COVID-19 illness or exposure from a known or possible contact with a patient, the findings showed.

While the number of asymptomatic women who tested positive rose 10-fold during the study, the number with symptoms declined by half, the researchers said.

 

The study was published as a letter in the May 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Our report provides reassuring information on infection rates and appropriate hospital responses outside of highly endemic areas,” said corresponding author Dr. Katherine Campbell. She’s medical director of Yale New Haven Hospital’s Labor and Birth and Maternal Special Care Units.

“Not only have we provided insight into the nature of a positive test, we’ve highlighted how a comprehensive testing program can reduce the use of personal protective equipment among labor and delivery staff without increasing their risk of exposure,” Campbell said in a news release.

Among people who have recovered from COVID-19, tests can yield positive results for up to six weeks, noted study co-author Dr. Christian Pettker, chief of obstetrics at Yale New Haven Hospital.

“Given our data, we think that a large number of the asymptomatic patients who test positive might not actually be actively infected or infectious,” he said in the news release. “This requires more research but has very important implications for patients who test positive who then might have to be isolated and separated from their babies.”

For patients, this might be even more noteworthy than the fact that labor units are much safer than has been reported, he added.

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Sources

SOURCE: Yale New Haven Health, news release, May 26, 2020

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