With many nervous about needles for COVID vaccine, volunteers sought for nasal spray trials in Triangle

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — While they may want the protection of the COVID-19 vaccine, a lot of children and adults are pretty nervous about the needle itself. Trials for a nasal spray vaccine are enrolling now at Wake Research in the Triangle.

Kalia Lapomarel gets nervous around needles, so if the COVID-19 vaccine came in a nasal spray she’d prefer it.

“It would just be easier to deal with,” she said.

Right now, Wake Research is looking for people to test just a nasal spray COVID-19 vaccine developed by Meissa Vaccines.

If it works, Dr. Matthew Hong says the nasal spray covid vaccine could have several advantages.

“Not only for people who don’t like needles and certainly for children,” he said. “You can deploy it in the middle of a battlefield — you don’t have to worry about cleaning an arm with alcohol or anything like that. Just spray it up the nose and the hygiene conditions aren’t as rigorous.”

“It’s much less fragile. You’re not moving around glass vials or anything like that,” he added.

Hong also said giving the vaccine in the nose could potentially be more effective.

“Some medical literature even indicates up to 25 percent of your immune response is in the respiratory tract, so you’re putting it right where you want to get it,” he said.

Most people in the trial will receive one dose of the vaccine, a smaller number will receive two doses about four weeks apart. This initial study will examine the safety of the vaccine.

If additional studies ultimately show it is safe and effective, Hong says it could be available in a couple of years.

Ariella Knab doesn’t mind needles but says she’d still look into the nasal spray vaccine if it becomes an option.

“I think I would see what was more effective,” she said, adding, “And go for the more effective one.”

Wake Research has enrolled two people in the trial so far and is looking for 20 to 30 people to take part in this phase of the study. Participants cannot have received another COVID vaccine or been infected with COVID-19.

There are several other requirements as well. While the vaccine doesn’t use a needle, study participants do have to get their blood drawn a number of times for research purposes.

Click here to see if you’re eligible for the study. You can also call Wake Research at (919) 781-2514.

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