Oxford university has begun advertising for participants in an early-stage trial to deliver the Covid-19 vaccine it jointly developed with AstraZeneca as a nasal spray, according to documents seen by the Financial Times.
The phase 1 trial will involve about 30 healthy adults aged up to 40 and will study the safety of the formulation, according to a recruitment sheet circulated to prospective patients. It could begin as early as next week.
Participants will receive at least one intranasal dose of the vaccine. Half will be randomised to receive a booster dose. The study will take about four months to complete.
If the study is successful, it will progress to the next stages, where efficacy is studied in larger numbers of patients.
A nasal spray vaccine would be easier to administer and could cut transmission rates significantly because the Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19 is predominantly passed on from the upper airways. The study was part of the AstraZeneca partnership, people familiar with the details said.
Trials of a nasal spray vaccine had also been started by Russia’s Gamaleya centre, which developed the country’s Sputnik V vaccine, its head said this week.
A spray form has been developed and patented and the centre is “currently launching clinical trials of Sputnik V in intranasal form”, Alexander Gintsburg, the centre’s director, said at a televised meeting with president Vladimir Putin on Monday, adding that initial tests showed no side effects.
“This is a very gentle and patient-friendly form of vaccination for children, especially little children, who can be traumatised when they see a syringe,” he said, adding that he expected clinical trials to be completed this year.
Oxford and AstraZeneca did not respond to requests for comment.
Study results from the American trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday, which were updated after a dispute with the independent board overseeing it, confirmed its high efficacy and safety.