China has approved for trials its first nasal spray vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus that has claimed over 904,000 lives and infected more than 27 million people globally, official media reported on Thursday. The phase I clinical trials are expected to start in November and will be tried out on 100 volunteers. It is the only vaccine of its type approved by China's National Medical Products Administration, the state-run Global Times reported. The vaccine is a collaborative mission between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.
Microbiologist from the University of Hong Kong, Yuen Kwok-yung, said the vaccine stimulates the natural infection pathway of respiratory viruses to activate the immune response. Scientists do not expect side effects, except for minor nasal obstruction. It is not yet clear whether immunity generated from nasal spray vaccinations will last longer than from injected vaccines. The nasal spray vaccine uses live attenuated influenza vaccine; the other four technical routes China is using to develop the coronavirus vaccines are inactivated vaccines, adenoviral vector-based vaccines, and DNA and mRNA vaccines.