COVID-19: New needle-phobia friendly coronavirus vaccine could protect against virus mutations

A new COVID-19 vaccine administered using a jet of air rather than a needle to push the dosage through the skin is being trialled at the University of Southampton.

Researchers say the vaccine could give “wide-ranging protection” against future coronavirus variants.

Saul Faust, the clinical chief investigator and director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, said: “This isn’t simply ‘yet another’ coronavirus vaccine as it has both COVID-19 variants and future coronaviruses in its sights.

“This technology could give wide-ranging protection to huge numbers of people worldwide.”

Most of the existing coronavirus vaccines use the sequence of the RNA for the spike protein from the first samples of the virus found in January 2020.

The technology used for the new jab aims to predict how the virus could mutate, allowing it to target emerging variants.

Professor Jonathan Heeney, at the University of Cambridge who developed the vaccine with research company DIOSynVax, said: “As new variants emerge and immunity begins to wane we need newer technologies.

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“It’s vital that we continue to develop new generation vaccine candidates ready to help keep us safe from the next virus threats.

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“Our vaccine is innovative, both in terms of the way it primes the immune system to respond with a broader protective response to coronaviruses, and how it is delivered.

“Crucially, it is the first step towards a universal coronavirus vaccine we are developing, protecting us not just from COVID-19 variants but from future coronaviruses.”

Volunteers from the Southampton area who have had two doses of an existing vaccine but not a booster are being sought for the trial.

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