Fighting Covid-19: A Corona Vaccine For Inhalation

Professor Förster, the head of the Standing Vaccination Commission has just announced in a talk show that they now want to recommend booster vaccinations for all citizens over the age of 18. What do you make of it?

Johanna Kuroczik

Editor in the “Science” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Most people in this country were vaccinated against Covid-19 in early summer, so it is to be expected that many will now run out of vaccination protection. That is why the booster immunization is so important and it is good that the Stiko has now announced that it will make booster vaccinations available to everyone. In fact, the regulation was previously such that the Stiko Booster was only recommended for people aged 70 and over. But the Corona Vaccination Ordinance has clearly stated since the end of September that everyone is entitled to immunization if it was around six months ago. But that did not get through to the general practitioners. We are always contacted by people who report that their family doctor has rejected the booster vaccination. This is wrong.

You are researching a new corona vaccine as an immunologist at the Hannover Medical School. Why do you need more vaccines than those that are already available?

We currently have highly effective vaccines, but they work for a limited time. The big problem is that vaccinated people shed the virus about three months after the second dose, similar to unvaccinated people. You are then initially infected asymptomatically, but pass the virus on. One idea would be to induce mucosal immunity, i.e. in such a way that there are a lot of antibodies against the spike protein on the mucous membranes of the airways. Then the antibodies would be right where they are needed – in the respiratory tract.

Does that mean that more and more antibodies are forming in the area where the vaccine was injected?

It’s one of the principles of the immune system – the response is strongest where it’s needed. If you become infected with, for example, a diarrhea pathogen, the protective mechanisms in the intestine are active and less systemic in other organs, such as the liver. The vaccines are injected into the muscle, which creates a good immune response – but also a wrong one in the sense that the antibodies of the IgA class first have to be transported to the mucous membranes. With immunization directly in the respiratory tract, there will be more of it.

Reinhold Förster heads the Institute for Immunology at the Hannover Medical School.  Among other things, he researches defense cells in the respiratory tract and the dynamic reactions of the immune system.


Reinhold Förster heads the Institute for Immunology at the Hannover Medical School. Among other things, he researches defense cells in the respiratory tract and the dynamic reactions of the immune system.
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Image: Simone Zimmer / MHH

Are there any inhalation vaccinations or would you be the first?

No, there is an approved vaccine against influenza for children that is given as a nasal spray. We hope to be able to start clinical trials, the Phase I study, of our vaccine this year. We have submitted the relevant documents to the Paul Ehrlich Institute and are now waiting for the go-ahead.

Reference-www.faz.net

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