A new form of COVID-19 vaccination that is delivered by inhaling rather than injection was released this week in Shanghai, the commercial centre of China, in what is thought to be a first for the globe.
CanSino Biologics (6185. HK), a Chinese pharmaceutical company, manufactured the vaccine, which Chinese authorities authorized for use as a booster in September.
The vaccine is currently being administered to the first patients; it is taken by mouth from a container that resembles a take-out coffee cup and has a short mouthpiece.
“Our body’s first line of defence is the mucus membrane of our respiratory system, we want that to be directly stimulated to improve immunity and using the inhaled vaccine does that,” Dr Zhao Hui, chief medical officer at Shanghai United Family Hospital Pudong, told Reuters.
His hospital is among those administering the new vaccine, which will be used as well as regular injected shots.
Erwin Loh, chief medical officer at St Vincents Health Australia, commented on what he claimed was the first application of the technology. He said the development of inhaled vaccines was significant not only because they have the potential to prevent infection but also because they may reduce vaccine hesitancy.
“There is a large proportion of people who are resistant to taking the vaccine because they have a needle phobia. They may not articulate it, but that’s what’s in their mind,” he said.
For China, which continues to be a worldwide outlier due to its adherence to its “zero-COVID” policy, which aims to eradicate community outbreaks of the virus, increasing vaccine uptake is essential.
There are currently targeted lockdowns in place in Shanghai, which has reported 11 local asymptomatic cases and no new domestically transmitted symptomatic coronavirus cases as of October 27.
In announcing the inhalable vaccine launch this week, the Shanghai government’s WeChat account stated that 23 million of the city’s 26 million inhabitants had gotten their initial COVID vaccinations in full and that more than 12 million had received booster doses.
Over 90% of the population in China has had a vaccination, according to official figures from the Chinese government. The nation has depended on inactivated vaccines made locally; an mRNA vaccine has not yet been imported or introduced. The inhalable vaccination is an inactive injection in aerosol form.
Loh is optimistic that the outcomes of Shanghai’s experiment with inhaled vaccinations would persuade other nations to do the same.
“I think inhaled vaccines for respiratory illness like COVID-19 will be the future,” he said. (Reuters)
Visit our Buzzer World News Section for more international news.