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Yes, studies are underway for nasal sprays, microneedles for a COVID-19 vaccine

No, these delivery methods are not available yet, and it will likely be a while.

THE QUESTION

It's a question we got from a viewer, Jayson Jones:
"I have heard a while ago that they had developed new delivery systems for the vaccines, nasal spray and "microneedle" patches.  Are they available?"

THE SOURCES
OhioHealth's Dr. Joe Gastaldo - an infectious disease expert
The CDC
National Institutes of Health
A recent research article "Scent of a vaccine."

THE ANSWER

No, they are not available. Yes, clinical studies are underway.

WHAT WE FOUND

Let's talk about nasal spray first.

There are 100 COVID vaccines going through clinical trials. Seven are nasal sprays.

This technology is not new – for example, FluMist for the flu.

If you look at what a vaccine needs to do a vaccine needs to stimulate the immune system. There are immune cells all throughout your body. You could stimulate the immune system through a shot which is what the COVID-19 vaccines are. You could also stimulate the immune system through your mucus membranes like spraying something in your nose,” said Dr. Gastaldo.

However -- no vaccines like this are cleared for COVID yet -- and it's not likely they will be anytime soon.

Now -- Microneedle patches.

According to the National Institutes of Health, in a study lead by two researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in 2020, the vaccine delivered by microneedle patches triggered an immune response in mice.

However, more research is needed to determine how long that will last and right now researchers are working to obtain permission for human clinical trials.

According to the CDC, in 2015 researchers tested this technology for the measles vaccine –claiming a safer, more fool-proof delivery system that's "painless and effective."

“I would say if those vaccines were available for people today it would probably alleviate some anxiety, people getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Gastaldo.

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