World’s first coronavirus vaccine you can inhale approved in China

China became the first country to approve an inhaled, needle-free version of a Covid-19 vaccine made by Tianjin-based CanSino Biologics Inc., sending the company’s shares soaring as much as 14.5% on Monday morning in Hong Kong.

China’s National Medical Products Administration has approved CanSino’s Ad5-nCoV for emergency use as a booster vaccine, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Sunday.

The vaccine is a new version of CanSino’s single-shot Covid drug, the world’s first to undergo human testing in March 2020 and has been used in China, Mexico, Pakistan, Malaysia and Hungary after its rollout in February 2021. The inhaled version can stimulate cellular immunity and induce mucosal immunity to enhance protection without intramuscular injection, CanSino said.

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Companies are considering developing inhaled versions of vaccines to boost antibodies in nasal and respiratory tissues to defend against the coronavirus. They are needle-free and can be self-administered, broadening their appeal for vaccine-hesitant people and potentially easing pressure on healthcare resources.

CanSino’s first single-shot vaccine was found to be 66% effective in preventing Covid-19 symptoms and 91% effective against serious illnesses, but it lags behind vaccines from Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and state-owned Sinopharm Group Co. used outside of China. These two companies account for the bulk of the 770 million doses that China has sent to the rest of the world.

The vaccine, which uses a modified cold-causing virus to expose the immune system to the coronavirus, is similar to those developed by AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson.

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