COVID vaccine: Pain-free nasal spray is in the works

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been trialling a nasal spray COVID vaccine, and participants say that it's sweet and pain-free.

Nasal spray
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Nasal spray

There are different ways in which a vaccine can be administered—oral, nasal, intramuscular, and the subcutaneous route (through the fatty tissue). For the time being, all COVID vaccines are being delivered by an intramuscular injection, meaning that people will receive it through their skin and into their muscle. This method can be painful and can also cause side effects on the injected area.

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Now that small children are being advised to get their first dose against the coronavirus, it could be time to explore other less painful options for vaccination and that’s exactly what researchers at Oxford University are doing.

Intranasal vaccination

Getting vaccinated through your nose is not uncommon. In fact, children have already been getting their flu vaccine with a nasal spray for years now. To see if the same method can be applied with COVID, a team at the Oxford University have been testing a intranasal vaccine in healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55.

According to Mirror, they’ve administered the doses in 30 unvaccinated people and an additional 12 are getting it as a booster. However, they are still recruiting volunteers to take part in their study.

Benefits of the vaccine

A nasal vaccine could have a range of benefits, the team explained:

Intranasal administration may improve protection against infection and transmission, and has the advantage of not requiring a needle.

Dr. Sany Doulas lead researcher in the study, added:

If you receive a vaccine in the nose, it may be particularly good at creating an immune response that is targeted to the nose and particularly good at blocking infections there.

Lyle Hopkins, one of the volunteers who took part in the study, recently opened up to ITV News about his experience and said that the spray actually tasted oddly sweet. He said:

I thought it was going to tingle or something, but I could hardly feel it. It tasted quite sweet, it had a sort of sugary taste.
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