Strengthening the immune response where the virus enters the body: A team from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) is researching a vaccine that is administered as a nasal or oral spray and that forms local antibodies in the mucous membranes. As announced by the university, the project is part of the Bavarian research association For-Covid and will continue to be funded with 280,000 euros over the next three years.
Vaccination of nasal mucosa more effective against omicron?
In the first funding phase since autumn 2020, the researchers were able to demonstrate that mice that received a booster immunization administered through the nose developed local antibodies in the nasal mucosa. These antibodies can neutralize viruses as soon as they enter the body and thus reduce the risk of infection. This effect is less efficient with vaccines administered into the muscle. “Now it’s a matter of understanding the immunological mechanisms behind this type of vaccination and finding out whether this method can also protect more efficiently against new virus variants such as omicron,” explains Professor Matthias Tenbusch, project manager of the research group.
Corona vaccination as a mouth spray
In cooperation with the partners of the research network at other universities and research institutions in Bavaria, the team is testing the method with different vaccines. Whether the vaccination also works as a mouth spray is to be found out in a clinical study.
New form of vaccination could reduce risk of infection
The team also wants to research which factors must interact in order for the immune system to respond to infections in the best possible way and how vaccinations can be used to produce this condition. “This new way of administering the vaccine could significantly reduce the risk of infection among vaccinated people and also lower the risk of vaccinated, infected people passing on the virus unnoticed,” explains Professor Klaus Überla, Director of the Institute of Virology at FAU.
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