Health Headlines: Researchers testing COVID booster nasal spray

Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 6:15 AM CST
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NEW HAVEN, Mass. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – There’s been a lot of confusion over COVID shots and boosters, how many do you need and when do you need them? The CDC says all Americans over 12 years old should receive the new booster against Omicron, but so far, only about four percent have done so. Now, scientists are testing a nasal spray that they say has been very effective in lab trials and may someday be a viable option for patients.

From allergy relief to protection from the flu, a quick pump delivers medication directly into the respiratory system. Now, Yale researchers are testing a COVID booster nasal spray.

Yale School of Medicine immunobiologist, Akiko Iwasaki, Ph.D. explains, “The reason we’re focusing on the nasal cavity is because that’s where the virus first lands.”

Iwasaki says current mRNA boosters lose strength over time and are not as effective in the nose and respiratory tract. The Yale nasal spray contains spike proteins from the coronavirus.

“Essentially, it’s a booster that contains the right vaccine antigen inside that bottle,” Iwasaki adds.

For some patients who are reluctant to get the COVID booster because they hate needles, a nasal spray could be a better option. Iwasaki says there are also other benefits.

“It may have less side effects than having a shot. So, people who are afraid of the side effect, hopefully, this will also alleviate such hesitation,” she says.

Yale University has licensed the nasal vaccine. Iwasaki and a colleague, Mark Salzman are co-founders of Xanadu Bio, a spinoff company that would allow them to take the vaccination techniques to production.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.