As the deadly Coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 900,000 lives with over 27.5 million infections worldwide, countries across the world have been in the race to develop vaccines for the virus. China is developing a nasal spray vaccine and has approved its trials, according to international media reports.
The vaccine is said to start Phase I of the clinical trials from November and about 100 volunteers are said to be recruited in this regard.
Chinese mouthpiece Global Times has termed it the only vaccine of its type to be approved by China's National Medical Products Administration. The development of the vaccine is undertaken with the collaboration between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland that involves researchers from the University of Hong Kong, Xiamen University, and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy.
The vaccine stimulates the natural infection pathway of respiratory viruses to activate the immune response, said the microbiologist from the University of Hong Kong, Yuen Kwok-yung.
Yuen said that the nasal spray vaccination could generate double protection for vaccine recipients - influenza and the novel coronavirus - if it also contains influenza viruses including H1N1, H3N2 and B. However he added that it will take at least a year to complete the three clinical trials before mass production.
The vaccine would not have any side effects claimed reports, adding that there may be a slight nasal obstruction or shortness of breath.
However, it is not clear whether the resistance generated by the nasal spray vaccine will last longer than the injected vaccine, reports said.
China, where the Coronavirus was originated, has approved three COVID-19 vaccine candidates for clinical trials. It has also authorised emergency usage of COVID-19 vaccines developed by some select domestic companies.
"We've drawn up a series of plan packages, including medical consent forms, side-effects monitoring plans, rescuing plans, compensation plans, to make sure the emergency use is well regulated and monitored," Zheng Zhongwei, head of China's coronavirus vaccine development task force told the official media in Beijing last month.
Meanwhile, India is also working on three vaccine candidates namely Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, Ahmedabad based Zydus Cadila's ZyCoV-D and the third one was developed by Serum Institute of India in collaboration with the Oxford University vaccine and AstraZeneca. However, the Serum Institute has halted trials for its vaccine Covishield after a show-cause notice by Drugs Controller General of India.
Russia's vaccine Sputnik V which is in advanced stages of development has shown the potential to fight COVID-19. Russia began phase III trials on September 8 and have begun administering the vaccine to volunteers in Moscow, whereas the United States' leading pharmaceutical company Moderna Inc is in Phase III of the vaccine trials with last report stating that the company has gathered over 13,000 volunteers for participating in the trials.
(With PTI inputs)