China has granted approval to conduct human clinical trials of the country’s first nasal spray Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by a team of researchers led by the University of Hong Kong.

The Phase I trials, scheduled to launch in November this year, will enrol 100 participants, reported Global Times.

This nasal Covid-19 vaccine candidate is said to be the first of its kind to secure authorisation from the China National Medical Products Administration.

The University of Hong Kong developed the vaccine in alliance with Xiamen University, and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy.

According to the researchers, the nasal spray vaccine is designed to trigger the natural infection pathway of respiratory viruses to activate the immune response.

It is expected that the vaccine could produce double protection against influenza and Covid-19, if it also consists of influenza viruses, including H1N1, H3N2 and B.

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By GlobalData

The clinical trials of the vaccine candidate are expected to take at least one year to complete.

A nasal spray vaccination is expected to be easier to administer, as well as mass-produce and distribute as it leverages the mature influenza vaccine production technology.

The vaccine candidate uses live attenuated influenza vaccine and may not cause systemic side effects. It may lead to side effects in the respiratory system such as asthma and shortness of breath.

Researchers are not expecting side effects except for minor nasal obstruction or rhinorrhea.

However, further research is required to assess if immunity generated from nasal spray vaccinations will last longer compared to injected vaccines.

China has approved three Covid-19 vaccine candidates for clinical trials. It has also authorised emergency use of certain Covid-19 vaccines by domestic companies.