Speeding up Inhaled Vaccines

Displeased black man looking at camera while being on public anti-racism demonstrations. Crow of people is in the background.
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After Operation Warp Speed was disbanded by the Biden administration, vaccine development slowed from warp speed to impulse power. The rest of the world now has some innovative vaccines not yet available in the United States. China, for example, has an inhaled vaccine. We don’t yet know how good the vaccine is and China, of course, has its own problems. In my view, however, the Chinese vaccines have been incorrectly discounted, due in part to chauvinism and propaganda as well as the initial impression that mRNA vaccines had higher efficacy. That advantage, however, his diminished over time. There is something to be said for a tried and true inactivated vaccine that delivers the whole virus and not just the spike protein which is one reason I advocated in 2020 for including an inactivated vaccine in the Operation Warp Speed portfolio. It’s not just China either, as the NYTimes reports Russia, India and Iran all have a nasal vaccine. But in the United States it’s back to business as usual.

NYTimes: In the United States, nasal sprays have been held back by the same funding constraints and logistical hassles that, before the pandemic, often made developing vaccines a decade-long ordeal. The delay could not only weaken the country’s defenses against a more lethal coronavirus variant but also hurt preparations for a future pandemic, depriving the world of an oven-ready nasal vaccine platform that could be adapted to a new pathogen.

“It went back to the prepandemic speed of vaccine development,” said Florian Krammer, a virologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His team’s nasal vaccine has undergone its most advanced testing in Mexico; collaborating with a pharmaceutical company there offered the fastest path to clinical trial funding. In the United States, he said, “The funding situation is pretty dire.”

See also my post on an Operation Warp Speed for Nasal Vaccines.

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