Academic Lab to Develop a Nasal Spray COVID-19 Vaccine

March 9, 2021
BioPharm International Editors

Rokote Laboratories Finland, an academic spin-out located in Finland, is working to develop a nasal spray vaccine against COVID-19 based on research from the University of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland.

Rokote Laboratories Finland, an academic spin-out, announced on March 8, 2021 that it is working to develop a nasal spray vaccine against COVID-19 based on research from the University of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland.

The vaccine uses gene transfer technology developed by Academy Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala’s research group at the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Helsinki said in a company press release. The vaccine utilizes an adenovirus carrier that contains a cloned DNA strand, which causes nasopharyngeal cells to create the virus protein, which then produces a response to the vaccine. The vaccine has shown positive results in animal studies and will undergo human testing in a few months.

“Vaccines injected intramuscularly produce IgG [immunoglobulin G] antibodies in the bloodstream, but nasal vaccines also produce an IgA response that protects mucous membranes,” said Ylä-Herttuala in the press release. “We assume that this can also prevent those who have received the vaccine from transmitting the virus.”

“Even if we were able to vaccinate the entire population, at least people in medical risk groups will still need new vaccines against new variants in the upcoming years. The vaccines currently in use provide a clearly lower protection against the South African variant, which will likely be the dominant virus in the next wave. Our vaccine already takes into account the most important variants [i.e., the South African, Brazilian, and the UK one]. There will certainly be a demand for this type of vaccine,” added Professor of Virology Kalle Saksela from the University of Helsinki, in the press release.

The company is currently negotiating funding toward further development of the vaccine for clinical trials.

Source: University of Helsinki