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Live attenuated vaccine
This technique is not new: nasal vaccines already exist for influenza and a team from the Institut Pasteur in Lille is currently working on a nasal vaccine against whooping cough. It is this same team, led by Professor Camille Locht, which is now working to develop a nasal vaccine against the coronavirus.
The principle is to apply a spray of live attenuated vaccine into the nose: a kind of harmless virus, which triggers a response of the immune system without triggering the disease.
This type of nasal vaccine has already shown “its safety and efficacy against pertussis germ infection“explains to the Northern voice Xavier Nassif, Director General of the Institut Pasteur de Lille.
“Mucosal” immunity in the nose
The goal is to get “local immunity at the site of the entry gate of the virus, i.e. the nasopharynx“he also specifies.
This is what scientists call mucosal immunity: antibodies are made directly in the nasal mucous membranes. They will therefore be able to block the virus as soon as it enters the body through the respiratory tract and prevent it from multiplying there.
A type of immunity that has not yet been proven to exist for injectable vaccines that cause the production of antibodies in the blood. These are not necessarily sufficient to protect against infection in the nose, even if they protect against the symptoms of the disease and the severe forms.
A vaccine stable at + 4 ° C
Another advantage of this nasal vaccine: its low production cost and its stability at + 4 ° C. This is an indisputable advantage over the vaccines from Moderna or Pfizer, which use the messenger RNA technique, a fairly fragile molecule which requires storage at very low temperatures, around -70 ° C.
But we will have to wait to have access to it: the nasal vaccine is not yet ready and will probably only be in 2021.