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Australian Scientists Researching COVID-19 Nasal Spray Vaccine

Australian scientists are conducting research to determine if COVID-19 vaccines could be given with a nasal spray – an innovation they say could have "huge implications" around the world.

The technology, if effective, could ease pressure on health professionals giving vaccine injections, cut medical waste and provide better vaccine access to developing countries.

Respiratory scientists Daniela Traini and Pall Thordarson, both members of the NSW RNA Vaccine Production and Research Network, have a $100,000 grant from the NSW government to conduct a scoping study with Medlab to investigate the spray.

The nasal spray technology, called NanoCelle, does not require a doctor to give a vaccine, and is already being used to deliver cannabinoids used for pain.

Professor Traini says her research will focus on whether the nasal spray can deliver a vaccine dose in the nose that stays "intact" and "fully functional".

"The current mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer and Moderna, are delivered by intravenous injection, and have specialised refrigeration requirements," she said.

"If this study is successful, it would possibly allow other mRNA vaccines to be delivered by nasal spray, and it would bring a number of benefits."

A new way to deliver mRNA vaccines, which currently need to be kept frozen, to areas without electricity or refrigeration, could prove "extremely important".

"It could prove to be a game changer not only for remote communities in Australia but for third world countries."

Other vaccines are already being given by nasal spray, including flu vaccines.

Prof Traini says drops taken by mouth "wouldn't work" for mRNA vaccines as they would be broken down by the body's digestive processes.