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Lexington pharmaceutical company developing COVID-19 vaccine nasal spray

Posted at 7:36 PM, Mar 26, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Lexington pharmaceutical company is partnering with a national biopharmaceutical company to develop a COVID-19 vaccine that will be administered as a nasal spray.

Altimmune is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that has developed products for liver disease, stimulants to boost the immune system against cancer, nasal vaccines for anthrax, the flu and now COVID-19.

Dr. Sarah Browne, the senior vaccine developer at Altimmune, says the nasal spray is the logical approach because the virus infects thru the nose.

"Training the immune system to respond to the infection at the site where it enters is really mechanistically getting it at its first point of attack," Dr. Browne said.

Because of that, Dr. Browne explains the vaccine blocks the virus from coming in and coming out.

"What we're hoping is that the vaccine will also reduce transmission, which we know is a huge with COVID-19 because folks can be infected and not realize it and spread it to other people who may be more vulnerable," Dr. Browne said.

The COVID-19 nasal spray vaccine is administered like any other nasal spray medicine. Dr. Browne says through the lab's studies, the spray is painless and tastes similar to salt water. The spray is a two-dose vaccine with a lab in Lexington assisting the development of a one dose nasal spray.

"You get your spray in the nose, and you're protected. You don't have to come back for a follow-up and I think it also increases certainty that everyone gets protected after one dose, that they don't miss that second dose," Dr. Browne said.

The nasal spray vaccine will be going through clinical trials until the end of the year but Altimmune is hopeful it will be available to the public in early 2022.