Last week, regulators in both India and China approved inhaled vaccines for covid-19. The companies behind these vaccines say they will boost the immune responses of people who have already been vaccinated. Here’s what we know so far.
What are the new vaccines?
On Sunday, CanSinoBIO, a biopharmaceutical company based in Tianjin, China, announce That its inhaled vaccine, called Convidecia Air, has been approved as a booster by the National Medical Products Administration of China. The vaccine is inhaled orally, and the company states that it can “effectively induce systemic immune protection in response to Sars-CoV-2.” [the virus that causes covid-19] After just one breath.”
Another inhaled vaccine, developed in India, was quickly approved. On Tuesday, Bharat Biotech, based in Hyderabad, Announced that the company’s nasal vaccine, known as iNCOVACC, has also been approved in that country. The vaccine is approved for “restricted emergency use” as a booster dose for people who have already had two doses of injected vaccines.
How do they work?
Both vaccines promise to induce an immune response in the linings of the airways — what immunologists call a mucosal response. Once the antibodies are here, they should be able to provide a faster response to any invading virus. In theory, this type of immunity could prevent a person from contracting the virus, and prevent them from transmitting the virus to others. “They are sitting where they are going to encounter the virus, which means they can act very, very quickly,” says Ed Laville, an immunologist at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland.
Do we really need more COVID-19 vaccines?
We can do better ways to protect ourselves from COVID-19. While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to fall – globally, weekly cases have fallen by about 12% in the past week – the virus is still responsible for many deaths. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that one person died last week of COVID-19 every 44 seconds. “Most of these deaths could have been avoided,” he said.