In a world-first, China has approved the production and use of an inhalable Covid-19 vaccine.
Created by Tianjin-based CanSino Biologics, the breathable mist has received the green light for use as a primary and booster shot from several countries and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The globe has battled the spread of the virus for more than two years and, while much of the developed world has largely moved past the worst of the outbreak, there still remain significant clusters of the population that are unvaccinated.
The reasons for unvaccination range from vaccine inequality, slow and ineffective government vaccination programmes and vaccine hesitancy.
The needle-free vaccine, called Convidecia Air, creates a comprehensive immune response to the now infamous SARS-CoV-2 virus after just a single inhalation.
The liquid vaccine is processed through a nebuliser, creating an aerosol spray that can be easily inhaled, according to the CanSino press release.
The news sent shockwaves through the market and the firm’s Hong Kong-listed share price jumped 14.5% in a single morning.
Clinical trials for Convidecia Air kicked off all the way back in March 2021, after a paper published in the medical journal Lancet described the drug as offering pronounced humoral, mucosal and cellular immunity, something CanSino Biologic calls “’triple protection”.
Like the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Covid shots, the CanSino vaccine uses an altered cold-causing virus to introduce the virus to the immune system and trigger an appropriate response.
CanSino’s vaccine candidate was the first to undergo human trials in March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic.
The first dose had a prevention efficacy rate of 66 per cent and was 92 per cent effective against hospitalisation and death, according to online publication, Fortune.
Since the vaccine’s rollout in early 2021, it has been used to prevent infection in China, Hungary, Malaysia, Pakistan and Mexico.
An inhalable version of the Covid vaccine has been a target for drug manufacturers since the start of the pandemic. Initially, it was hoped a needleless method of inoculation would encourage previously hesitant individuals to achieve immunity.
Being able to self-administer the vaccine mist orally or nasally, also means that healthcare professionals can enjoy some respite from administering injections themselves.