Nasal delivery: the future of the flu vax

WASHINGTON, DC - A fear of needles has kept many from getting optional vaccines, including the one for pandemic flu. And panel members at this year's Influenza Congress USA believe the future of the industry lies in more painless, less invasive procedures, especially nasal vaccine delivery.

According to Douglass Given, chairman and CEO of Vivaldi Biosciences, stimulating the nasal mucosa via vaccine delivery provides a higher immune response, making the product more effective. And using their live attenuated influenza vaccines, they hope to outperform FluMist with higher immunogenicity.

James Baker, CEO of NanoBio, had a different approach, using FluZone or Fluvirin vaccines with his company's antimicrobial emulsion technology to create another nasal-delivered vaccine using 1/6 of the current dosage. "What was remarkable is we seemed to be activating the immune system, not just passively loading it," he said. The company has seen fewer side effects with their smaller-dosed vaccine, though in trials the highest dose given was the best tolerated. NanoBio is also working on hepatitis B, RSV and UTI infection treatments using their emulsion technology.

Panelists had mixed feeling about dry powder vaccines. To Baker, it's too hard to control dosage with a powder vaccine, but De-chu Tang, vice president and CTO of Vaxin, felt that storage temperature was the key to a successful vaccine. "If we can store the vaccine at room's good enough," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's powder or liquid."

Editors note: The article previously stated that Vivaldi's vaccines hope to outperform FluMist with higher immunogenicity and a more stable product that can be stored at refrigerated or room temperature. FluMist is stored at refrigerated or room temperature. The error has been fixed.