Today’s Infectious Disease News (12/15/22)

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Scientists Call for Next Generation of COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines have proven remarkably successful at preventing severe disease and death. Over the last two years, vaccines have prevented 3.2 million deaths and 18.5 million hospitalizations in the United States alone. Yet, a growing number of scientists are calling for next generation COVID-19 vaccines. Experts assert that new technologies are needed to keep pace with the ever-evolving virus. One issue is that COVID-19 became more resistant to the original mRNA vaccines, in part because of the large pockets of unvaccinated people. Low vaccination rates in many less wealthy countries helped the virus mutate , reducing the effectiveness of the original formula. The updated boosters, specifically designed to fight omicron variants, remains highly effective, but this protection starts to wane after two months. The vaccines also don’t offer robust protection against mild infection.

Many researcher see intranasal or inhaled aerosol technologies as the future of COVID-19 vaccines. Because studies indicate the virus most often infects the nose first, an intranasal route could help stop the virus in its tracks. “It’s sort of akin to having guards placed outside the door in the mucus layer, versus waiting for the invaders to come in,” explained Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, an Immunobiology Professor at Yale University, who is working on an intranasal vaccine. Some experts think aerosol mists are a strong candidate for the next generation of vaccines. These vaccines would be given through a nebulizer which would allow the vaccine to more directly target the virus in the lungs.

Full Story: NBC News