Yale researchers say nasal spray could be next COVID-19 booster

Reporter: Amy Oshier Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

There’s been a lot of confusion over COVID-19 shots and boosters. How many do you need, and when do you need them?

The CDC says all Americans over 12 years of age should receive the new booster against omicron, but so far, only about 4% have done so. Now, scientists are testing a nasal spray that they say has been very effective in lab trials and may someday be a viable option for patients.

From allergy relief to protection from the flu, a quick pump delivers medication directly into the respiratory system. Yale University researchers are testing a COVID-19 booster nasal spray.

“The reason we’re focusing on the nasal cavity, it’s because that’s where the virus first lands,” said Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at the Yale School of Medicine.

Iwasaki says current MRNA boosters lose strength over time and are not as effective in the nose and respiratory tract. The Yale nasal spray contains spike proteins from the coronavirus.

“Essentially, it’s a booster that contains the right vaccine antigen inside that bottle,” said Iwasaki.

For some patients who are reluctant to get the COVID-19 booster because they hate needles, a nasal spray could be a better option. Iwasaki says there are also other benefits.

“It may have less side effects than having a shot. So, people who are afraid of the side effect, hopefully, this will also alleviate such hesitation,” Iwasaki said.

It is one more potential option for preventing COVID-19’s spread.

Yale University has licensed the nasal vaccine.

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