Using a nasal spray to administer a new COVID-19 treatment developed from tiny llama antibodies could potentially be the future of administering vaccines and protecting against infectious diseases, according to some experts.
Researchers at the Rosalind Franklin Institute in the UK have found that nanobodies, a smaller form of antibody developed by llamas and camels, can effectively target the virus that causes COVID-19 infection.
In a statement, the institute’s researchers said they were able to make the nanobodies by injecting a portion of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein called Fifi into the llama.
While Fifi herself did not become ill, the introduction of the spike protein—the part of the virus that is responsible for binding it to human cells—triggered her immune system to generate nanobodies to fight the virus’s proteins.
Researchers took a sample of Fifi’s blood, extracted four nanobodies from it and engineered it in a laboratory setting into a series of three that were able to neutralize forms of the virus, including the original and alpha versions. The fourth nanobody chain was able to neutralize the beta version as well.
The cheap and easy-to-use nanobodies do not need to be stored in cold storage like COVID-19 vaccines and can be administered via nasal spray, scientists said.
Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, said: “While vaccines have proven to be exceptionally successful, not everyone responds to vaccination and at different times individuals may have reduced immunity.”
“Having drugs that can cure the virus is still going to be very important, especially with the whole world not being vaccinated at the same pace and the risk of new variants being able to circumvent vaccine immunity.” Has happened.”
While public health officials tout the research as having “significant” potential for prevention and treatment of the novel coronavirus, infectious disease experts say a similar nasal spray could potentially be used as a COVID-19 vaccine for other infectious diseases. and can also be used to administer vaccines. — and its widespread use may not be too far away.
“If this proves successful, there will be some other potential emerging viruses to consider in the future,” said Dr Gerald Evans, chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Queen’s University. Interview with Granthshala News.
“it’s very interesting.”
Researchers working on the nasal nanobodies said the spray has several other advantages over regular human antibodies that are usually administered with a needle, including ease of use and a person’s ability to self-administer.
Most importantly, such treatment would go directly to the “site of infection in the respiratory tract.”
Evans said such a treatment could be sprayed directly into the part of the nasal cavity where the virus is most likely to bind and infect a person.
He explained that people who get conventional, systemic vaccines such as the COVID-19 shot begin to build up higher antibody levels against the virus soon after getting their jab – although those neutralizing in their blood The effectiveness of producing antibodies diminishes over time.
Spraying those llama-made nanobodies directly into the part of the body where a person is most likely to get the disease would go a long way in preventing the attachment of those COVID-19 spike proteins.
Evans said, “So if you could put them in a nasal spray and just shoot it in people’s noses and get the kind of effect that you would have if you had vaccine-induced antibodies set up in the nasopharynx. “
While the prospects look promising, Evans said the development of nasal applications for vaccines was still too early, and scaling up its industrial production could be a serious challenge.
Researchers at McMaster University said earlier in June that they were looking into how a response in the human immune system could lead to aerosol and nasal spray treatments that could block infections in the body.
Matthew Miller, an associate professor at McMasters, said: “Vaccines can produce these antibodies that are present in our lungs, which are the first types of antibodies we see in viruses such as the flu or COVID-19, which can affect our lungs and tissues.” infect the respiratory tract.” Previous statement to Granthshala News.
“Mechanisms that can stop infection at the site where it enters our bodies can prevent spread and serious complications.”
Evans said that using a nasal spray as opposed to a needle may be more effective in immunizing vaccine-hesitant populations, pointing to the effectiveness of the nasal vaccine for influenza.
“I mean we know with the flu vaccine, if you get the shot, you know people were more likely to get vaccinated,” Evans said.
“It can get us around a small percentage of people who don’t want to get the vaccine from getting it because they have a perception that it’s not going into my body, it’s just going to, you know, my Up to the nose and everything else.”
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