Nasal spray made from nasty intestinal insects to stop the flu
A VACCINE nasal spray containing an insect that causes food poisoning may be more effective than injections in preventing the flu.
The spray contains a flu vaccine mixed with Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, which can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.
The addition of E. coli helps trigger a greater immune system response to the virus than existing flu shots. Using this spray directly into the lining of the nose can prompt the immune system to block the virus for up to six months, according to a study by researchers at National Taiwan University Hospital.
By acting directly on the nose and throat, the spray encourages the production of more antibodies to the point where the flu virus typically invades the human body, they said.
The results of the trial, involving 350 patients, show the vaccine to be safe and effective, triggering a stronger immune response than a conventional flu shot.
Influenza causes relatively mild illness in most people, but it can affect the lower respiratory system, leading to fatal pneumonia in severe cases, especially among vulnerable groups, including people over 65 and those with underlying health issues. More than 20,000 people in the UK died from the flu in 2017-2018.
Flu shots are estimated to have averted between 15 and 52 percent of flu cases between 2015 and 2020. But their effectiveness varies.
Flu vaccines – usually made with inactivated viruses – trigger the production of antibodies.
Nasal spray versions, which avoid needles, contain live viruses that are weakened so they don’t cause disease while mobilizing a greater immune response (including more sophisticated T-cells and B-cells) – and , in the case of respiratory infections, can be delivered directly to where the viruses are replicating.
But nasal sprays aren’t always effective, partly because it’s harder to tell how much vaccine has been given.
The spray, developed by Taiwanese company Advagene Biopharma, contains a flu vaccine wrapped in detoxified (harmless) E. coli. The idea is that by preparing a response to the bacteria, the body also creates more antibodies against the flu virus.
The research, reported in the journal Vaccine, showed that those who used the spray had higher amounts of antibodies in their blood than those who received a control vaccine injection.
Greg Towers, Professor of Molecular Virology at University College London, said: “All vaccines contain a component called an adjuvant to activate the immune system. Here the adjuvant is derived from E. coli – an excellent immune activator – so it works fine.
“A nasal response is also expected to be more effective if driven by the right antigen in the right place – the nose and airway – than when delivered into the arm,” he adds. he, explaining that “the nose has evolved to become a protective barrier and as such the immunity that can be induced here is particularly effective.”
© Daily Mail