China and India approve nasal COVID vaccines — are they a game changer?

Scientists hope the immunizations, delivered through the nose or mouth, will prevent even mild cases of illness.

Emily Waltz

Nature | September 06, 2022

CanSino Biologics’ inhaled vaccine has the same ingredients as the company’s COVID-19 shot that is already available in China.Credit: Chen Yuancai/VCG/Getty

Two needle-free COVID-19 vaccines that are delivered through the nose or mouth have been approved for use in China and India. China’s new vaccine, announced on Sunday, is inhaled through the nose and mouth as an aerosolized mist, and India’s, announced on Tuesday, is administered as drops in the nose.

These mucosal vaccines target thin mucous membranes that line the nose, mouth and lungs. By prompting immune responses where SARS-CoV-2 first enters the body, mucosal vaccines could, in theory, prevent even mild cases of illness and block transmission to other people — something COVID-19 shots have been unable to do. Vaccines that produce sterilizing immunity would be game changing for the pandemic.

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How nasal-spray vaccines could change the pandemic

Vaccines inhaled through the mouth or nose might stop the coronavirus in its tracks, although there’s little evidence from human trials so far.

Emily Waltz

Nature | September 06, 2022

A student in Washington DC receives an influenza nasal-spray vaccine, in 2009. Intranasal and oral COVID-19 vaccines are now in development. Credit: Hyungwon Kang/Reuters

Editor’s note: Indian regulators approved Bharat Biotech’s intranasal vaccine for emergency use on 6 September.

Are sprays the future of COVID-19 vaccines?

That’s the hope of dozens of research groups and companies working on new kinds of inoculation. Rather than relying on injections, these use sprays or drops administered through the nose or mouth that aim to improve protection against the virus SARS-CoV-2.

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COVID vaccines slash risk of spreading Omicron — and so does prior infection

But the benefit of vaccines in reducing Omicron transmission doesn’t last for long.

Ruby Prosser Scully

Nature | August 26, 2022

Vaccinated people are less likely to pass on Omicron than those who have not been immunized.Credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty

People who become infected with the Omicron variant are less likely to spread the virus to others if they have been vaccinated or have had a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to a study in US prisons1. And people who have had a prior infection and been vaccinated are even less likely to pass on the virus, although the benefit of vaccines in reducing infectiousness seems to wane over time.

The findings are good news, says Megan Steain, a virologist at the University of Sydney, Australia. They show that the more exposure people have to the virus, whether through vaccines, boosters or infections, the “higher the wall of immunity”, she says. “If we can keep high levels of booster vaccinations up, then we can decrease how infectious people are when they’re sick,” says Steain.

The study was posted as a preprint on medRxiv this month and has not been peer reviewed.

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China approves first homegrown COVID antiviral

The country’s drug regulator has granted conditional authorization for an HIV drug to be used to treat COVID-19.

Yvaine Ye

Nature | July 26, 2022

A temporary hospital for people with COVID-19 in Shanghai. The country has approved the first antiviral for the disease made in China. Credit: Ray Young/Feature China/Future Publishing/Getty

China’s drug regulator granted conditional approval on Monday for an HIV drug to be used to treat COVID-19. The drug, Azvudine, developed by Chinese drugmaker Genuine Biotech, is the first oral antiviral for the disease made in China.

Genuine Biotech, headquartered in Pingdingshan, applied for regulatory approval earlier this month. In an announcement, the company said that 40% of people with COVID-19 who were given Azvudine for a week in a phase III clinical trial showed “improved clinical symptoms”, compared with 11% of those given a placebo. However, detailed data from the trial, including whether the treatment reduced the risk of hospitalization or death, have not been released.

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How different COVID-19 recovery paths affect human health, environmental sustainability, and food affordability: a modelling study

Juliette Maire, PhD; Aimen Sattar, MPhil; Roslyn Henry, PhD; Frances Warren, PhD; Magnus Merkle, MSc; Prof Mark Rounsevell, PhD; and Peter Alexander, PhD

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: July, 2022 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00144-9

Summary
Background
The COVID-19 pandemic arrived at a time of faltering global poverty reduction and increasing levels of diet-related diseases, both of which have a strong link to poor outcomes for those with COVID-19. Governments responded to the pandemic by placing unprecedented restrictions on internal and external movements, which have resulted in an economic contraction. In response to the economic shock, G20 governments have committed to providing US$14 trillion stimuli to support economic recovery. We aimed to assess the impact of different COVID-19 recovery paths on human health, environmental sustainability, and food sustainability.

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WTO decides: no TRIPS waiver

Trade delegates and WTO Secretariat celebrate package of documents issued at the end of the Ministerial Conference, yet outlook for Global South remains bleak

Peoples Health Dispatch | June 17, 2022

Activists stage a “die-in” action at the WTO Ministerial Conference to protest the lack of TRIPS waiver (Photo: Our World is Not for Sale

The WTO announced on June 17 that it had reached an agreement on the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver. The deal has been criticized by people’s movements around the world as the WTO decidedly rejected the demand by health activists for a full TRIPS waiver.

The ministerial decision on the TRIPS agreement, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, was announced in the early morning in Geneva on June 17, almost two days after the expected end of the 12th Ministerial Conference. Although the decision was hailed by the WTO Secretariat and officials from the Global North as an unprecedented result, in practice it falls short of meeting the bare minimum of the world’s needs.

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China, Cuba Present Jointly-Produced ‘Pan-Corona Vaccine’

teleSUR | June 03, 2022

Cuba and China present the first patent for the Pancorona vaccine, result of the collaboration between both countries in the biotechnological field. | Photo: Twitter @EmbacubaChina

Cuba managed to develop five COVID-19 vaccines and inoculated 95% of its population against the COVID-19 virus, despite the burden of the U.S. blockade. China, likewise, produced a massive amount of two different vaccines for its 1.4 billion-strong population and much of the Third World.


Cuba and the People’s Republic of China jointly filed the first patent for a vaccine against  COVID-19 and its many variants, which could also be effective against several related viruses, the Cuban daily Granma reported on Thursday.

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Cuba Donates Thousands of Doses of Soberana 02 Vaccine to Sahrawi People

Orinoco Tribune | March 03, 2022

This Friday, Cuba donated a batch of 458,000 doses of its Soberana 02 COVID-19 vaccine to the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), destined for the pediatric population of that country.

The African nation’s ambassador accredited in Havana, Mohamed Salec Abdesamad, praised the gesture on behalf of his people and government at a ceremony held at the Finlay Institute of Vaccines (IFV), creator of the immunogen, in Cuba’s capital.

The diplomat thanked Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel and all of Cuba, on behalf of the president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali.

Mohamed Salec Abdesamad assured that the doses will benefit the refugee population and residents in liberated territories.

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Cuba to distribute 200 million doses of its homegrown Covid vaccine to poor countries

by Steve Sweeny

Morning Star | January 26, 2022

Cuban plans to distribute 200 million doses of its homegrown Covid vaccine to lower-income countries were said to have reached a “historic turning point” on Tuesday.

David Adler, who headed a Progressive International delegation to the socialist island, said the “lifesaving package” was an example of vaccine internationalism that saw public health “placed above private profit and petty nationalism.”

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