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YOUR HEALTH | No More Needles! New COVID Vaccine Nasal Drops

Dr. Curiel explains, “We’re trying to engineer these proteins so that we can infect the nose even better than our present vaccine.”

ST. LOUIS — COVID-19 – it seems like either you’ve had it or know someone who has. To date, there have been 104 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States with more than 1.1 million deaths. Sixty-nine percent of the U.S. population are considered fully vaccinated. But continuing with the boosters and the vaccinations may be key to not getting it. And now, immunization from COVID-19 could be as simple as a nasal drop.

We’ve been poked, and poked, and poked again and again. In fact, many people are now on their fifth COVID-19 vaccine jab. But now, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are working on nasal drops that could be key to stopping the transmission of the virus before it enters the body.

The two main advantages – no needles and that it triggers an immune response in the nose and upper airway, right where the virus enters the body – blocking the infection and breaking the cycle of transmission, unlike the current vaccine.

“A systemic injection, like mRNA, will augment antibodies in the blood, not so much in the lung. Airway vaccination, nasal vaccination augments antibodies in the nose and airways. And that's a better defense,” said Washington University in St. Louis radiation oncologist, David Curiel, MD, PhD.

Without using mRNA, researchers are targeting fiber proteins on the virus.

Dr. Curiel explained, “We’re trying to engineer these proteins so that we can infect the nose even better than our present vaccine.”

It’s the world’s first internasal vaccine approved in India as both a primary vaccine for COVID-19 and a booster.

The nasal drop vaccine is also quickly adaptable, so it can be quickly modified to match new variants that emerge of the COVID-19 virus. The nasal drops are already being manufactured in India, Europe, Japan and should be ready to be presented to the FDA in the United States by the end of the year.

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