WHO looking forward to oral, nasal COVID-19 vaccines
SWITZERLAND: The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said on Tuesday she was looking forward to the “second generation” of COVID-19 vaccines, which could include nasal sprays and oral versions.
Dr. Swaminathan said such vaccines could have advantages over the current crop as they would be easier to deliver than injections and could even be self-administered.
Dr Swaminathan said there were 129 different candidate vaccines that have reached as far as clinical trials – being tested on humans – while a further 194 are not yet that advanced in their development and are still being worked on in laboratories.
“This covers the entire range of technologies,” she told a live interaction on WHO social media channels.
“They’re still in development. I’m sure some of them will prove to be very safe and efficacious and others may not.
Dr Swaminathan explained the advantages of a vaccine being sprayed into the nose, as happens in some countries with influenza vaccines.
“If there’s a local immune response then it will take care of the virus before it even goes and establishes itself in the lungs and starts causing a problem,” she said. The WHO has given emergency use authorisation only to seven COVID-19 vaccines: Those created by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac and last week, Bharat Biotech.
“None of the vaccines are 100 per cent. Nobody has ever claimed that the vaccines are going to be 100 per cent protective. But 90 per cent is a wonderful amount of protection to have, compared with zero,” Dr Swaminathan said.
“Till now, with the vaccines that we have approved, there has not been any signal which has been so worrying that we need to say, well, we need to rethink this vaccine.”
More than 7.25 billion vaccine doses have been administered around the world, according to an AFP count.
– THE STRAITS TIMES