HKU-Developed Intranasal COVID Vaccine Approved for Use

Nasal Spray COVID Vaccine Developed by HKU Approved For First Use

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has co-developed a nasal spray COVID vaccine with Xiamen University and Wantai Pharmaceutical, according to a HKU media report.

Wantai Biopharm announced the nasal vaccine received a green light from the Chinese National Medical Products Administration on Dec. 5, with the pharmaceutical company targeting the production of 200 million doses in the next six months.

According to a HKU press release published on Dec. 6, the clinical results of the third phase have shown over 80% efficacy rate against Omicron variants for those who are vaccinated, and a 55% efficacy rate for people who are unvaccinated.

Professor Kwok-yung Yuen from the HKU research team says the nasal vaccines build immunity against the virus in the nasal and throat mucus membranes, blocking the virus at the site of virus entry, unlike injection vaccines.

Another member of the HKU research team, Professor Chen Hong Lin, believes the nasal vaccine is a great option to complement injection vaccines currently in circulation. Priority groups may include the elderly and high risk groups with underlying illnesses.

“The nasal vaccine is particularly acceptable to persons who are afraid of needles, such as children. All we need is a syringe with a special tip to produce a mist, and does not require an inhalation device,” he said.

The HKU team is currently updating the nasal vaccine for new COVID variants, including recent Omicron strains.

“The results of three phases of clinical trials were carried out in countries where Omicron variants are prevalent, and the effective rates seen are already for Omicron variants. Our work on updating vaccine strains has been underway already,” says Yuen.

He also added that people can expect this vaccine to be used in Hong Kong in due time.

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