London: A team of researchers has launched the trial of a new needle-free Covid-19 vaccine that aims to protect against future variants of the infectious virus.
The vaccine — DIOS-CoVax — administered through a jet of air uses different technology to fight the disease, which could provide much broader protection against Covid variants and other coronaviruses, the BBC reported.
The participants, aged between 18 and 50 years, will take part in the trials at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility.
“As new variants emerge and immunity begins to wane, we need newer technologies,” Jonathan Heeney of Cambridge University and Chief Executive of DIOSynVax, the maker of the vaccine, was quoted as saying.
“It’s vital that we continue to develop new generation vaccine candidates to help keep us safe from the next virus threats. It is the first step towards a universal coronavirus vaccine we are developing, protecting us not just from Covid-19 variants, but from future coronaviruses,” Heeney said.
While current Covid-19 vaccines use genes taken from the virus spike protein to encode antigens, which causes the immune system to produce antibodies, the new vaccine uses predictive methods to mimic the wider family of coronavirus antigens that researchers hope will give more protection.
The new vaccine is a spring-powered jet injection that delivers it into the skin, offering an alternative to those who have a fear of needle-based injections.
“This isn’t simply ‘yet another’ coronavirus vaccine, as it has both Covid-19 variants and future coronaviruses in its sights,” Saul Faust, director at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, was quoted as saying.
“This technology could give wide-ranging protection to huge number of people worldwide,” Faust added.