What if nasal vaccines could end the coronavirus pandemic?

This is what a team of French researchers from INRAE-University of Tours, named BioMAP, who are working on this new type of vaccine against Covid-19, are hoping for.

Rest assured when we talk about "nasal vaccine", we are not talking about a shot like traditional intramuscular vaccines.

“We will put right at the entrance door of the nostrils, so it will absolutely not be an invasive gesture”, explains Isabelle Dimier-Poisson, INRAE-University of Tours research director in the parasitic immunology laboratory.

Two immune responses in one vaccine

But, after the PCR and antigenic test, why always want to go after our noses?

“Our vaccine will solicit an immune response that is said to be systemic, general, but in addition to this immune response, we will induce an immune response in the nasal cavities”, explains Isabelle Dimier-Poisson, also co-founder of the start-up. up LoValTech, which is piloting this 100% French vaccine project.

Thanks to these virus-specific antibodies and lymphocytes located in the nose, unlike traditional vaccines which mainly protect against severe forms of Covid but do not prevent transmission, this new vaccine could completely prevent the transmission of the virus.

Prevent the virus from circulating and stop variants

“With our vaccine, when we are infected, the virus will be stopped very early by antibodies and memory T lymphocytes, further indicates the head of the BioMAP team, who places great hopes in this vaccine candidate.

So when we are infected, we will no longer be able to contaminate the people around us.

It means that we will prevent the virus from circulating.

This means that potentially this vaccine would participate in stopping the pandemic.

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The INRAE ​​researchers' project would also have many advantages in the face of variants.

"As we stop the virus very early, and it no longer multiplies and circulates as quickly, we will slow down, or even completely stop the arrival of variants", concludes the researcher.

But if the INRAE ​​team is optimistic, there is still a long way to go.

For the moment, researchers have conducted studies on animals – mice and then hamsters – which have proved conclusive, but no test has yet been carried out on a human being.

The BioMAP team hopes to begin clinical trials “by the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023” and if this vaccine candidate passes the tests aim “for marketing in early 2024”.

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