The corona vaccine is by far the sharpest sword against the virus, but only against serious diseases. Research is working on new preparations that should also rule out infections.
Munich – We see it again every day: Approved vaccines do their job very well in the body, especially against heavy Covid-19 courses. This is quite surprising, because they had to be developed under high pressure and in record time. But of course, vaccines aren’t perfect – with the delta variant of the original coronavirus, a competitor has already entered the arena showing its limits.
The result: the number of breakthroughs in vaccination is constantly increasing, the vaccinated are definitely contagious and therefore a danger to the unvaccinated. And Sars-CoV-2 is very likely to send more mutations to the ring – which can be explained by completely asynchronous vaccination campaigns around the world.
New corona vaccines: Previous vaccines are administered intramuscularly
However, the weakness of the drugs given by syringe so far is not necessarily that they have to be swept off the ground in an looming pandemic. On the contrary, they basically start from the wrong place.
Because vaccines are administered intramuscularly. On the upper arm. It is well known that the mouth and nose are the gateways to the virus. “Coronavirus enters the body through the respiratory tract and does the most damage in the case of a disease in the lungs,” emphasizes immunologist Reinhold Förster from the Hannover Medical School. world.
New corona vaccines: The next generation will no longer have injections
That’s why research has been trying to develop inhalation vaccines for a long time. They work like nasal sprays, immunization takes place through the olfactory organ. The first reports of lab work were months ago. Meanwhile, at least seven of these vaccines are said to have been tested on volunteers.
These preparations have many advantages over previous vaccines. First of all, they would be more effective because the coronaviruses are stopped as soon as they enter and they cannot make themselves comfortable anywhere in the first place. Additionally, immunization should be associated with significantly less effort, meaning it can be administered more quickly. And there would be no syringes in the game that could convince many skeptics that there was a vaccine.
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Förster hopes they will “create true vicious immunity.” This means that vaccinated people can no longer be infected and therefore no longer transmit the virus. What more and more experts are warning about is that we will have to live with the virus in the future because it will no longer be wiped out from the world, if this becomes reality, it will make it much easier to bear.
However, researchers are breaking new ground with these inhalation vaccines. So far, there is only one preparation of this strain on the market, primarily intended to protect children from influenza. Problem: According to the report, this is a live vaccine, unlike previous injection vaccines against coronavirus. So a real comparison seems difficult.
New corona vaccines: Expert sees best opportunities for vector vaccines like those from Astrazeneca
One of the inhalation vaccines in the testing phase is the live vaccine. Förster offers as few chances of approval as inactivated vaccines or protein-based vaccines, one of which has been developed. They will probably be too permeable, especially the lungs will not be adequately protected.
The Hanoverian doctor calls vector vaccines the better solution. These include injection products from Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson. The Swedish-British pharmaceutical company also developed an inhalation vaccine. A total of five of the seven samples currently tested are based on a vector.
New corona vaccines: Inhalation vaccine against flu raises hopes
A harmless virus is used to introduce the blueprint of the coronavirus spike protein into the organism so that an immune response is triggered there. Semi-test phase for an emergency in the body. Förster is also working on a preparation for this strain with Gerd Sutter, a virologist at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. This is where the cowpox virus comes into play.
In this context, the outlook for the vector inhalation vaccine against influenza, which is in the second test phase, is also positive. It uses the same vector as the Russian corona vaccine Sputnik V, the world’s first approved vaccine against Sars-CoV-2. And the results are promising.
So the next phase in the fight against the pandemic is about to begin. However, it will probably take some time before the latest anti-corona weapon is released. Förster does not want to harbor false hopes. So it stays with the injection in the upper arm which is known to be very effective. (mg)