Human clinical trial begins for nasal coronavirus vaccine after Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham research

The FDA allowed the vaccine testing on humans after encouraging results from the pre-clinical trial at UAB.

Posted: Feb 22, 2021 4:41 PM
Updated: Feb 23, 2021 12:50 PM

A new COVID-19 vaccine candidate is set to start its clinical trial this week.

The Altimmune vaccine is a potential game changer in the fight against the pandemic for a number of reasons. One of them being that it's not a shot. It's a nasal spray.

Credit: Altimmune

"Because respiratory infections can be transmitted through the nose, that's really where they take hold and get down further into the respiratory track, intranasal vaccine just makes a lot of sense to block the infection of the site of introduction," Dr. Sarah Browne with Altimmune said.

The vaccine would not only block COVID-19 from entering your body. Researchers say it would also stop it from coming out, protecting you and others from transmission.

"The more you can prevent transmission. The more quickly you can reduce the virus infection in the community, and the more quickly you can help to control the pandemic," the lead researcher of the pre-clinical trial at UAB Dr. Frances Lund said.

During that trial, animals were given high doses of COVID-19; then, given the nasal vaccine. Dr. Lund says those animals were not only able to neutralize the virus in their bodies, but also had an additional layer of protection in their nose and upper respiratory system.

Something Altimmune refers to as mucosal immunity. The company's senior director for vaccine development says it helps stop transmission. It's something that's been seen in other needle-free vaccines for other viruses like the flu and even polio.

"The injectible version prevents disease, but doesn't prevent infection or transmission. That's because polio infects the gut. Whereas with oral polio vaccine, that really generates that mucosal immunity that is used in places where there's still polio virus in circulation because of that critical issue of preventing transmission," Dr. Browne said.

Dr. Lund says immunity in animals lasted around 6 months with one dose. Altimmune is hoping to have similar results in people as it begins its Phase 1 trial. The clinical trial is expected to last anywhere from 6 months to a full year.

"That's out of an abundance of caution to make sure there aren't any real serious safety events that occur further out from vaccination," Dr. Browne said.

Another element that makes Altimmune's vaccine unique is that it can remain stable at room temperature, meaning no need for freezers or keeping it cool like the vaccines we have now.

"It at least brings another tool to the tool box for thinking about vaccinating the whole world. Are the other vaccines very good? Absolutely! Is this going to replace those vaccines? No, but it will be an addition to those vaccines, and it may be useful in areas where those other vaccines really aren't practical," Dr. Lund said.

Huntsville/Redstone
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 42°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 40°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 36°
Decatur
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 36°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 27°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499819

Reported Deaths: 10148
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson720331403
Mobile36423741
Madison32708469
Tuscaloosa24457422
Montgomery22805523
Shelby22276219
Baldwin19935289
Lee15083161
Calhoun13963296
Morgan13801255
Etowah13419327
Marshall11460215
Houston10130264
Elmore9515190
Limestone9440139
St. Clair9057228
Cullman9000183
Lauderdale8630214
DeKalb8509175
Talladega7647165
Walker6601260
Jackson6552104
Autauga634792
Blount6256128
Colbert6010121
Coffee5261104
Dale4685107
Russell408134
Franklin400879
Covington3999107
Chilton3922104
Escambia379573
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3434111
Dallas3428142
Pike293173
Marion288996
Lawrence286287
Winston258668
Bibb246558
Marengo245357
Geneva240670
Pickens226357
Barbour213951
Hale212969
Fayette202857
Butler201666
Henry183741
Cherokee178240
Monroe166739
Randolph165441
Washington157136
Macon147845
Crenshaw146955
Clay146254
Cleburne140341
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123125
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter101032
Coosa90324
Greene88932
Choctaw56123
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 783484

Reported Deaths: 11547
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby880221518
Davidson82248874
Knox46569589
Hamilton40761463
Rutherford38847388
Williamson25536204
Sumner21597320
Montgomery17563213
Out of TN1726097
Wilson16662211
Unassigned15872126
Sullivan14527275
Blount14213185
Bradley13111141
Washington12856234
Maury12284162
Sevier12182165
Putnam10671170
Madison10143232
Robertson9043121
Anderson8113158
Hamblen8097166
Greene7317145
Tipton6986103
Coffee6442115
Dickson6303106
Gibson6204141
Cumberland6141123
Carter6004155
McMinn597593
Roane595096
Bedford5848120
Loudon574566
Jefferson5729119
Lawrence558283
Monroe540691
Warren533777
Hawkins530298
Dyer5250101
Franklin477185
Fayette469373
Obion437195
Lincoln416762
Rhea416373
Cocke404696
Cheatham398744
Marshall393157
Campbell383759
Weakley380060
Giles375997
Henderson362674
Carroll349481
White340366
Hardeman339465
Macon337973
Hardin332463
Lauderdale310043
Henry301875
Marion296345
Scott289144
Wayne288830
Overton286758
Claiborne285369
McNairy269353
Hickman267941
DeKalb267651
Haywood265260
Smith258336
Grainger245246
Trousdale240122
Morgan231438
Fentress230344
Johnson217538
Chester202748
Bledsoe201410
Crockett197447
Unicoi182247
Polk179822
Cannon178930
Union174234
Grundy170530
Lake167926
Sequatchie157727
Humphreys155821
Decatur154437
Benton151339
Lewis147625
Meigs127023
Jackson125734
Stewart124825
Clay107231
Houston103932
Perry103628
Moore94716
Van Buren79820
Pickett74823
Hancock50012

Community Events