United Kingdom tests if COVID-19 vaccines might work better inhaled

A syringe kept next to a small bottle labelled COVID19 vaccine for representational purposes


Poonawalla's comments come just a day after India's Minister Harsh Vardhan said that while there has been no date fixed on the availability of a potential Covid-19 vaccine, chances are it may be ready by the first quarter of 2021.

The new trials of the vaccines will see volunteers receive aerosolised vaccines through a nebulizer, delivering the vaccine as airborne droplets through a mouthpiece.

The Imperial College London team will use two frontrunners already in development - the Oxford one recently paused in trials and one from Imperial that entered human testing in June. Scientific voices point out that pausing clinical trials to review and redirect course, if need be, was in fact sound in science.

The vaccine would be distributed in four phases, with health-care workers, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions getting vaccinated first, according to the group. "We will restart the trials in the coming week", Municipal Commissioner IS Chahal told Mumbai Mirror, adding the Drugs Controller General of India had also issued clearance. STAT reported on September 8 that the company had paused the Phase 3 study after a "suspected serious adverse reaction" in a UK-based participant and The New York Times cited a person familiar with the situation to report that the participant was diagnosed with an inflammatory condition that affects the spinal cord and is "often sparked by viral infections". Late-stage trials had been paused after study subject fell in Britain.

Together with the AstraZeneca vaccine, it is on the list of WHO-monitored list of candidate vaccines on a quest to get approved for industrial production once they complete all three required phases of clinical trials.

Charlotte Summers, lecturer in intensive care medicine at Cambridge University, welcomed the resumption of the Oxford trial and said the researchers had shown their commitment "to putting safety at the heart of their development program". Due to their large size, the studies are considered the most important study phase for picking up less common side effects and establishing safety.

Last week, Russian researchers published their trial findings on the vaccine in the peer-reviewed Lancet medical journal, claiming that Sputnik V was "proven to be "safe and well-tolerated" among a few dozen volunteers", according to AFP.

The chief executive of the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines, Adar Poonawalla, has said dampened the hopes of a COVID-19 vaccine by year-end in an interview with the Financial Times. "In the meantime, the key continues to be our behavior".

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