British scientists are beginning a small study comparing how two experimental coronavirus vaccines might work when they are inhaled by people instead of being injected.
In a statement on Monday, researchers at Imperial College London and Oxford University say a trial involving 30 people would test vaccines developed by both institutions when participants inhale the droplets in their mouths, which would directly target their respiratory systems.
Larger studies of the Imperial and Oxford vaccine are already under way, but this study aims to see if the vaccines might be more effective if they are inhaled.
“We have evidence that delivering influenza vaccines via a nasal spray can protect people against flu as well as help to reduce the transmission of the disease,” said Dr. Chris Chiu of Imperial, who is leading the research. He suggested that might also be the case with COVID-19.
“It is critical we explore whether targeting the airways directly can provide an effective response compared to a vaccine injected into muscle,” Chiu said in a statement.