The SARS-CoV-2 virus infects hosts via the respiratory tract, and this is why it is so easy to get it. The virus has evolved as it spread around the globe, and the WHO has declared as variants of concern or variants of interest several strains: The Delta, the Lambda, The Gamma, Alpha and Beta. Each strain originated in different continents. The Delta variant originated in India, the Lambda in Peru and the Alpha in the U.K. Because this virus attacks the respiratory tract, scientists debate whether intranasal vaccines could be more efficient in protecting us from the infection.
What could be the benefits of intranasal vaccines?
There are several intranasal vaccines on the market for other infections such as the flu. They are easy to administer and less scary for children and those with a needle phobia. However, immunologists and scientists are trying to determine the benefits and characteristics of Covid-19 intranasal vaccines. The approved Covid-19 vaccines are administered via arm injection, and they are efficient in preventing the disease and possible complications such as lung problems or even death. However, an intranasal vaccine could be more efficient at generating protection against the virus in the nasal passages and the other parts of the respiratory tract. The intranasal vaccine would protect the mucus membranes and would sterilize the environment.
Scientists concord that none of the approved Covid19 vaccines protects 100% the respiratory tract
Scientists all agree that the approved Covid-19 vaccines do not protect people 100% from the infection. An article gathered the opinions of several experts, and they seem to agree that an intranasal vaccine would be more efficient in protecting the upper respiratory tract. The overall benefits of an intranasal vaccine are multiple, but at the same time, there are also challenges. Intranasal vaccines are not necessarily easier to administer, and they will not use live viruses to train the immune system in creating antibodies against the disease.
Scientists are also debating if the newest technology for the mRNA vaccines could suffer alterations so that an intranasal vaccine could replace them. Moreover, their general conclusions are that intranasal vaccines require a lot of funding, new technology or innovations, research, and time. The intranasal vaccine that would use live viruses would have to use just the right amount to trigger an immune response. Nevertheless, many remain optimistic that a Covid-19 intranasal vaccine will soon become available.