By Sanjay Mukundan
As the world is moving closer to recuperation after recurrent waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, safety from the infection has become increasingly significant to stay away from any further spread. Though several drugs, therapies, and plasma therapy have been identified and used in emergency purposes for reducing the disease severity in patients with Covid-19 as well as others are being investigated; however, the choice of effective medicines is yet to be identified. As per the data by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare total vaccination count today in India has approx. reached 1.98 billion, but the need for more effective vaccine doses is still there considering the newer mutations of the virus.
Various research paved the way for developing Covid-19 vaccines in less than a year. After very high efforts, researchers have developed Covid-19 vaccines such as mRNA vaccine, DNA vaccine, viral vector vaccine, virus-like particles, recombinant vaccine, protein subunit-based vaccines, live attenuated and inactivated virus vaccines that are being used for vaccinating people across the globe under different vaccination programs that are in progress in several countries. Currently, all available COVID-19 vaccines are administered by intramuscular injection, which is an invasive method, while many scientists are focusing on developing a vaccine that can be administered through nasal or oral routes.
For instance, in mucosal transmitted illnesses like influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses, administering vaccinations through the nasal route is regarded as extremely appealing since it induces a dual systemic and a robust local mucosal immune response. There is no need for trained healthcare personnel to deliver intranasal dosage, the nasal vaccines have greater ease to administer. This is advantageous, particularly in developing nations, and therefore nasal vaccination provides a more convenient approach to administering vaccinations during outbreaks.
The primary entry portal for coronaviruses in the human body is constituted by oral and nasal mucosal surfaces, and the nasal compartment is the first-line barrier to SARS-CoV-2 entry that needs to be breached by the virus, after which the virus spread and disseminates to the lungs, therefore mucosal (intranasal) vaccination can render a safe and effective way for the generation of long-lasting systemic and humoral immune responses as well as mucosal immunity in both upper and lower respiratory tracts to bestow defence against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The emergence of a nasal vaccine can be a game-changer in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. Various nations are putting their best possible effort to come up with a nasal vaccine to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The nasal vaccines are likely to turn the Covid-19 pandemic into an endemic. There are various vaccines available in India that can be administered intranasally: Indian vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech, the maker of Covaxin has already begun its phase 3 clinical trial of intranasal vaccine a month ago and the initial results are promising, and the Sputnik V vaccine has come up as the world’s first nasal vaccine against coronavirus. The Gamaleya institute tested the Sputnik nasal vaccine on children aged between 8 and 12 and found no side effects among the test group, including no increase in body temperatures.
Nasal vaccines aim to overcome difficulties with mass vaccination and reduce the cost by doing away with the need for syringes. Experts suggest that nasal vaccine can be a crucial weapon in eradicating vaccine hesitancy, especially among individuals who are afraid of syringes. Nasal vaccines are a ray of hope for people in this pandemic as nasal vaccine works as a spray and there is no fear of needle injuries. When the world is highlighting the need for booster doses, the nasal vaccine can be the answer for the same apart from reducing the hassles.
(The author is MD, Joint secretary of Association of Foreign Graduated Physicians, Kerala. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)