Russia’s Vector is Working on Intranasal COVID-19 Vaccine

The Russian State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector has started developing a new coronavirus vaccine in the form of nasal drops, which will help produce immunity right at the “entrance gate” of the infection, Vector General Director Rinat Maksyutov said in an interview with Sputnik.

“Yes, we have started developing a vaccine in the form of drops, an intranasal vaccine. The composition of the main active component of the vaccine will remain unchanged [same as that of the EpiVacCorona vaccine],” Maksyutov said.

The vaccine will help develop immunity in the nasal mucous membranes, which can be described as the “entrance gate” of the infection, Maksyutov specified.

According to the director of the Vector research center, just one day will be enough to update Russia’s EpiVacCorona vaccine to ensure protection against new mutations of the coronavirus.

“If the virus suddenly mutates, and a mutation occurs in the areas where we selected peptides, if we need to update the vaccine, then it will take no more than one day to upgrade vaccine composition,” Maksyutov said.

Vector’s director clarified that developing peptides and releasing a vaccine takes time, apart from that, research must be conducted for the updated vaccine.

“I hope that it will be possible to conduct just an abbreviated study, like we do with seasonal influenza vaccines when new strains appear, but, since there have been no precedents with a coronavirus vaccine so far, it is difficult to say anything for sure, everything will depend on the regulator,” Maksyutov explained.

EpiVacCorona vaccine was authorized for seniors aged 60 and over in March.

The vaccine is a peptide-based drug that relies on a synthetic platform. Artificially-synthesised short fragments of viral proteins – peptides, which are contained in the vaccine, help the immune system learn how to recognize and then neutralize the virus.