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Two inhaled coronavirus vaccines have been approved. Here’s what you need to know.

We could find better ways to protect ourselves from covid-19. While the number of Covid-19 cases continues to decline – globally, weekly cases have fallen by about 12% over the past week – the virus is still the cause of many deaths. Last week, a person died from covid-19 every 44 seconds, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday. “Most of these deaths could have been avoided,” he said.

Will inhaled vaccines replace injectable ones?

No. Injectable vaccines typically result in the production of antibodies in the bloodstream and internal organs of a person, which also provides a strong immune response to any invading virus. It’s likely that the two vaccination approaches will work best when used together, Lavelle said.

Animal research suggests that injection vaccination followed by inhalation may provide the best protection against infection in the so-called “first-draught” technique. Injected vaccines activate the immune system, and inhaled ones can give it an additional boost or pull. But Lavelle emphasizes that we still don’t know if this approach will be as effective in humans.

Which of the two inhaled vaccines is better?

We don’t know yet. The two vaccines are administered differently: one through the nose, the other through the mouth. It is not yet clear which route might be the best. In theory, vaccination by any route should induce immunity in the nose, mouth, and upper respiratory tract, including the lungs. But protection will be best wherever the vaccine is delivered, Lavelle says.

Could inhaled vaccines help end the pandemic?

This is a big question, and it’s no surprise that there is no simple answer to it. In theory, if vaccines can help prevent infections and transmission, they could have a huge impact on COVID-19.


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