Development of a COVID-19 nasal vaccine


from March 4, 2021 to August 31, 2021



A few months ago, the BioMAP team led by Professor Isabelle Dimier-Poisson responded to the call for Research Action on Covid-19 (RA-Covid-19) launched by the French National Research Agency (ANR) and their project on the development of an anti-SARS-CoV-2 nasal vaccine was selected for funding.

For more than a year, the scientific community around the world has been searching for a vaccine against the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. This race against time is supported by considerable resources, simplified processes and an accelerated timetable to facilitate its development. The immunogenicity of these potential vaccines - including those recently launched - is based on their ability to protect against severe forms of the infection after intramuscular injection. However, none of these vaccines induce mucosal immunity, as evidenced by virus replication in the nasopharynx after infection, suggesting that they would have only moderate effects on the infectivity of infected vaccinees. Therefore, nasally administered mucosal vaccines capable of destroying the virus at the initial site of infection appear to be the best candidates for preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission and reducing the spread of the pandemic.

With this in mind, the BioMAP team of the UMR ISP 1282 University of Tours - INRAE has been developing a project (supported by the ANR and the CVL Region) for a potential mucosal vaccine for a few months now, based on their expertise in the design of nasal vaccines capable of inducing strong local protective immune responses.

To date, the immunogenicity of this potential SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has been demonstrated in real-life with the induction of strong mucosal immune responses. In the mouse model, two nasal immunisations spaced 3 weeks apart induced a very strong immune response in the systemic and mucosal compartments, allowing us to assume a very good protective efficacy, particularly in terms of reducing viral dissemination at the infection site.

This nasal vaccination experiment also makes it possible to test and validate a nasal instillation device developed by the company Recipharm with a view to future clinical trials in humans.

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