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Scientists Working on New COVID-19 Vaccines

Scientists are hard at work developing and testing new COVID-19 vaccines that may be more effective at preventing transmission and infection, according to The Washington Times (subscription).

Nasal sprays: Several teams of scientists are working on nasal spray vaccines that will attack membranes in the nose, where infection typically begins. The hope is that the nasal sprays are more effective than current vaccines at preventing infection and transmission. The nasal sprays will also be easier and more efficient to administer than current vaccines, which require the aid of professionals.

Spray timeline: “The focus is on getting this into the clinic as soon as possible,” said Bruce Turner, CEO of Xanadu Bio, which is working alongside Yale researchers to create a nasal booster that could be taken every four to six months to restore immunity. 

NIH funding shots for a pan-coronavirus vaccine: The National Institutes of Health provided University of Wisconsin – Madison, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Duke University with $36 million to develop a vaccine that will be effective against more types of coronaviruses. The need for a universal shot comes as three different major coronavirus outbreaks (COVID-19, SARS and MERS) have occurred in just the past 20 years.

Pfizer and Moderna targeting omicron: “American drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna are working on vaccines specific to omicron, the dominant variant now. The shots won’t be available until after the surge subsides, making it unclear whether they will be needed or whether the government will stick with its boost-as-needed strategy with existing products.”

U.S. Army vaccine trials: The U.S. Army is steeped in trials of a vaccine that uses a soccer ball–shaped protein to test against spikes of multiple coronavirus strains. Researchers hope the Army vaccine is nimble enough to protect against multiple variants as the world frets over another devastating strain and the original SARS virus.

Current vaccines remain successful: Though there is a limited set of vaccines available to the public, they are effective in preventing severe illness. Vaccinated and boosted people are 25 times less likely to be hospitalized and 33 times less likely to die than unvaccinated people.

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