Updated: June 25, 2021 4:38:23 pm
In the pandemic, scientists and doctors have scrambled for long-term solutions to beat the virus. Amid the shortage of injectable vaccines, they have looked for effective ways of vaccine delivery which ensures more people get immunized.
But, there have been recent developments in nasal or intranasal vaccine technology, which is seen as a positive sign amid concerns over a third wave of the coronavirus infection, which is said to affect more children than adults.
How does it work?
Dr Anshu Punjabi, consultant-pulmonologist and sleep medicine expert at Fortis Hospital, Mulund says intranasal vaccines are administered via the nose. “The vaccine targets the virus present in the mucous in the nose, where the highest loads of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are also likely to be present. If the virus can be stopped from entering at this point, it will not be able to get into the lungs. If an effective mucosal immune response is generated, it would possibly prevent the coronavirus infection from the outset and more effectively reduce transmission of the virus,” he says.
These vaccines will be easier to store, transport, and administer, says the doctor.
“Some experts believe nasal immunization will more closely replicate natural immunity and reduce both transmission of virus as well as infection.”
There is, however, a catch.
According to Dr Punjabi, intranasal vaccines are incapable of producing effective, long-lasting immunity; “this may result in a faster waning of immunity”.
“Whether these vaccines will provide a robust, long-standing immune response is yet to be seen. Till then, more and more adults — especially teachers — need to be vaccinated before schools reopen to lower the transmission rate. Also, kids should be given regular flu shots to improve their immunity,” the doctor concludes.
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