Researchers in Finland develop a nasal-spray COVID-19 vaccine

Rokote Laboratories Finland Ltd.- a newly- established academic spin-out headquartered in Finland, is in the midst of developing a nasal spray vaccine against coronavirus. The vaccine is being developed based on research carried out by the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki.

It incorporates advanced gene transfer technology made by the research team at University of Eastern Finland which is headed by Prof. Seppo- Ylä-Herttuala. The new technology has been successfully adopted in many clinical trials using gene therapy to treat cancer and cardiovascular diseases. 

Seppo Ylä-Herttuala mentioned that the injected vaccines produce IgG antibodies in the bloodstream while the nasal vaccine produces an IgA response that secures the mucous membranes. This is likely to prevent those who receive the vaccine from transmitting the virus.

In addition to the above, the vaccine utilizes a reliable adenovirus carrier which comprises a clones DNA strand that may cause nasopharyngeal cells to develop a virus protein which in turn produces a response to the vaccine.

Notably, preliminary results showcase that the vaccine has performed well in animal studies and the clinical study in humans is expected to begin in few months.  

Moreover, nasal delivery was chosen as a new vaccine administration method since the virus is naturally transmitted through airways. The nasal administration is likely to induce a wider immune response as compared to intramuscular administration.

According to Kalle Saksela, Professor of Virology at the University of Helsinki, the current vaccine in use offers lower protection against the South African virus strain which is expected to be the dominant virus in the next wave. Rokote’s vaccine takes into account the most important variants like the UK, South African, and Brazilian ones.

Seemingly, the firm will initiate the first clinical study in Finland. In Kuopio, the commercial technology required to produce the vaccine is already available.  

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