Finnish researchers say a nasal spray COVID-19 vaccine based on gene transfer technology can be adapted flexibly to tackle new variants of coronavirus.
Its developers have teamed up with the Universities of Helsinki and Eastern Finland to announce the launch on Monday of Rokote Laboratories Finland Ltd for its marketing and development.
The gene transfer technology used was developed by the research group of Academy Professor Seppo Yla-Herttuala in Kuopio, Finland.
The same technology has been used in several clinical trials using gene therapy to treat cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Professor Yla-Herttuala told Xinhua that some countries have approached the researchers with ideas of financing that could secure first use options. "While acceptance by the European Medication Agency (EMEA) is required for the EU (European Union), the product could be independently cleared for use outside the EU before EMEA clearance," Yla-Herttuala said.
Preliminary results show that the vaccine has performed well in animal studies, and clinical testing in humans will start within a few months, said the company's press release.
The Finnish spray vaccine already takes into account virus variants found in South Africa, Brazil and the United Kingdom. There is no actual SARS-CoV-2 virus in the vaccine.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 261 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 79 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on March 5.