A multidisciplinary team from the McMaster University, Toronto is working to make inhaled vaccines a reality.
Fiona Smaill, Professor of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, and a part of the multidisciplinary team, said that they are testing a next-generation COVID-19 vaccine that the earlier research in animals suggests will last longer, will be more effective and stand up well to future variants of the virus.
“Before COVID-19 emerged, our team of researchers at McMaster University were working to develop a new inhaled form of vaccine delivery that could finally take on one of the most challenging respiratory infections —tuberculosis— still a scourge in low-and middle-income countries and in remote areas across the globe. In Canada, it disproportionately affects people living in Inuit Nunangat and First Nations living on reserve,” she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic, being truly global, created a huge demand for vaccines, such as the now-familiar ones from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
These vaccines have got us through the immediate crisis, as the COVID-19 virus was spreading rapidly, and have served us well, preventing serious illness and death in countries where vaccines were available.
“These vaccines represent great strides, but they are not as effective in all populations, nor are they as robust against new variants as they are against the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” she said.
She added that after decades of work, the progress made was steady, but slow.
She added that her team’s research suggests that the next-generation COVID-19 vaccine that they are currently testing will be more effective for longer use, and will protect against new variants.
“We are conducting human trials of our new COVID-19 vaccine. The phase one clinical study is evaluating safety of the vaccine, as well as testing for evidence of immune responses in blood and the lungs. Our new multivalent vaccine, manufactured for our clinical trial in the Robert E. Fitzhenry Vector Laboratory, targets multiple viral proteins, both the spike protein on the surface and also the proteins inside the virus,” she said.