Meissa posts early clinical data on nasal COVID-19 vaccine, providing support for role in breaking transmission chains

Studies to assess the candidate as a booster to injectable vaccines and in children are in the pipeline. (libre de droit/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Meissa Vaccines has presented early clinical data on its nasal COVID-19 vaccine, revealing the highest dose of the recombinant live attenuated candidate triggered similar nasal antibody levels to natural immunity. 

Advocates of nasal COVID-19 vaccines see the delivery method as more than just a way to persuade needle-phobic people to get vaccinated. The broader case for nasal vaccines centers on the levels of antibodies in the upper airways where SARS-CoV-2 infections take root. Injected vaccines are good at providing systemic immunity but have less effect on the nose, potentially increasing the chances that vaccinated individuals will contract and pass on the virus, albeit without falling severely ill.

By targeting the nose, nasal vaccines could increase antibody levels in the tissues that first encounter SARS-CoV-2, thereby stopping the coronavirus from taking hold in a person and breaking the chain of transmission. A small clutch of companies is working to validate that hypothesis.

Meissa recently added to the clinical data on nasal COVID-19 vaccines. Investigators gave a single, adjuvant-free dose of the recombinant live attenuated COVID-19 vaccine to 49 people. Participants who received the highest dose had nasal IgA antibody levels that “resembled natural immunity to SARS-CoV-2.” Meissa will share more data from the interim analysis around the end of the month. 

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“The initial safety data from this trial combined with our preclinical COVID-19 data and clinical data from Meissa’s RSV vaccine candidate, which was also built on the AttenuBlock platform, support continued clinical development of MV-014-212,” Robert Walker, M.D., chief medical officer at Meissa, said in a statement.

Meissa is continuing to study the vaccine candidate in the phase 1 clinical trial while plotting the next steps in its development plan. Studies to assess the candidate as a booster to injectable vaccines, the main use case for all next-generation candidates, and in children are in the pipeline.

The data drop comes weeks after Codagenix reported phase 1 safety and immunogenicity results on its nasal COVID-19 vaccine. Codagenix outlined plans to move into phase 2/3 studies in its statement to disclose the early clinical results.