ST. LOUIS — With no needles and limited side effects, Washington University researchers pioneered a COVID-19 vaccine that checks those boxes.
"You can actually package the vaccine in the device you administer it, in a little bottle or a little syringe," co-inventor and Washington University Biologic Therapeutics Center Director Dr. David Curiel tells 5 On Your Side. "You don't need skilled medical personnel to administer it, sometimes the patient can do it themselves."
It's like flu mist, the nasal spray style vaccine, but for COVID-19. Regulators in India approved the vaccine for emergency use this week. The nasal adenovirus immunization is the first of its kind in the world.
The vaccine was developed in the labs of Washington University professors Dr. Michael Diamond and Dr. David Curiel. Curiel and Diamond's teams worked with India's Bharat Biotech International Limited to produce the vaccine on a large scale and roll it out to trial in India.
Dr. Curiel says the vaccine differs from MRNA because its main goal is to prevent the spread of coronavirus, "That's the main point is that the other vaccines have done a good job at prophylaxing against severe infections that cause hospitalization and death, but they have not limited transmission. This is something that nasal vaccines may add to the defense that's so critical with pandemic agents."
Another key benefit of the nasal vaccine is it does not require specialty freezers. It can be stored in a standard refrigerator.
Washington University is in talks with United States vaccine makers about bringing trials stateside.
To learn more about the vaccine, read Washington University's in-depth article.