Akiko Awasaki | A Nasal Vaccine for Covid Could Prevent Infections – The New York Times

“. . . . . The Covid-19 vaccines authorized for use today were developed at unprecedented speed and surpassed expectations in how well they worked. The billions of people who are protected by them have avoided severe symptoms, hospitalization and deaths. These vaccines are a scientific success beyond measure.

And yet they could be even better.

The enemy has evolved, and the world needs next-generation vaccines to respond. This includes vaccines that prevent coronavirus infections altogether.

When the early mRNA vaccines were first authorized in December 2020, the world was dealing with a different kind of pandemic. The dominant strain circulating had a relatively low capacity to spread between people. At that time, not only did the mRNA vaccines provide strong protection against severe disease and death, but they were also highly protective against infections and the virus’s spread as well.

But SARS-CoV-2 continued mutating, and in doing so it has given rise to variants that are more contagious and highly capable at skirting around protective antibodies, causing widespread infections, despite ever growing levels of immunity from vaccines and prior infections. Thankfully, after the booster shot, the mRNA vaccines are still very effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths, including against the highly contagious Omicron variant.

So, one may ask, if we can eliminate much of the severe disease and fatality risk through a combination of existing vaccines and treatments, why should we worry about infections?

Even mild infections can develop into long Covid, with people suffering long-lasting, debilitating symptoms. Data also suggests that groups like older adults who have been vaccinated but haven’t received their boosters may continue to be at a higher risk for the worst outcomes of Covid-19. Regular infections can pose substantial disruptions to people’s lives, affecting their ability to work and keep their children in school. There’s also no guarantee that people infected with Omicron will remain protected against infections with future variants.”

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