THE first Covid vaccine nasal spray will be trialled on 48 British volunteers next month, it’s been announced.
The spray, which uses a weakened form of the virus, is to be tested out on case studies in London in the first week of January.
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A new nasal spray which could beat Covid is being trialled on Brits next monthCredit: Press Association
The spray could beat mutations, manufacturers say – on the day it was announced London will go into Tier 3 after a new strain of Covid was foundCredit: Reuters
Millions of people across the capital, as well as parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, will face strict new rulesCredit: Aaron Chown
The drug, COVI-VAC, is manufactured by New York-based company Codagenix.
It’s been given the green light for trials by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which recently approved the roll-out of the Pfizer vaccine.
Brits who trial the medicine will be given a genetically-modified version of Covid that’s far weaker than the real thing – but still infectious.
Similar vaccines – like the MMR jab – work by stimulating the immune system in the same way a real disease would.
However, it’s unable to cause severe illness.
Codagenix’s vaccine is administered by a nasal spray, in the same way the flu jab is given to children.
Unlike the Pfizer jab, it won’t need ultra-cold storage or syringes.
The pharma company says a single dose was successful in animal trials.
The drug is designed to produce immunity against various parts of coronavirus, rather than the ‘spike protein’ on the outside.
It also doesn’t need to be stored in super-low temperatures, unlike existing vaccinesCredit: Alamy
Pubs and restaurants will be among the venues forced to close as the capital is hit with Tier 3 lawsCredit: London News Pictures
Matt Hancock warned tonight that the mutated virus could be causing transmission to happen even faster Credit: Aaron Chown
This could mean it would still work even if the virus mutated.
It was announced today that London – along with parts of Essex and Hertfordshire – will move into Tier 3 measures on Wednesday – after a new strain of Covid was detected.
Under the tier, shops and gyms can remain open, but all hospitality venues – including restaurants, pubs and bars – must shut.
The mutation may allow the deadly bug to spread more rapidly, it’s feared.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We have identified a new variant of coronavirus which may be associated with the faster spread in south-east England.
“It is growing faster than existing variants, with over 1,000 cases.”
And he told the Commons: “Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants.”
More than 60 areas have been affected already.
Mr Hancock said: “We’ve seen very sharp exponential rises of the virus across London, Kent parts of Essex and Hertfordshire.
“We must take fast and decisive action.”
Brian Horne receives the first of two jabs at a GP-led clinic in Chalfont St Peter, BuckinghamshireCredit: PA:Press Association
The Pfizer jab must be stored at ultra-low temperatures Credit: PA:Press Association
It comes as beleaguered Brits face yet another rise in cases
And Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said that new mutations will happen all the time – and it would be “surprising but not impossible” the virus could stop reacting to a vaccine.
The World Health Organisation and Public Health England are continuing to look into the new killer strain.
In better news, GP surgeries in England began offering vaccinations today.
Practices across more than 100 areas will begin giving the jab to the country’s most vulnerable.
The vaccination clinics will operate from doctors’ surgeries or community hubs in villages, towns and cities.
Meanwhile, care home residents in Scotland are due to receive the vaccine for the first time from today.
NHS staff including nurses and pharmacists will work alongside GPs to inoculate those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents.
And the Codagenix trials offer further hope that experts can get ahead of the bug.
MailOnline reports that the vaccine is likely to be trialled at a 24-bed clinic in Whitechapel, East London, where participants will be quarantined.
In September, Public Health England backed the use of a nasal spray developed to fight cold and flu symptoms – amid claims it could prevent 96 per cent of coronavirus infections.
Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory produces the spray – which works by preventing the virus from replicating in the respiratory tract.
It comes as millions more prepare to move into Tier 3 lockdowns