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Open Orphan’s first volunteer receives intranasal Covid-19 vaccine in clinical trial


Cathal Friel, chairman of Open Orphan

Cathal Friel, chairman of Open Orphan

Cathal Friel, chairman of Open Orphan

Dublin-listed Open Orphan has started trials in London of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by a US company that can be delivered nasally, the company said yesterday.

The phase one trials saw a volunteer receive the Covid-19 vaccine, called COVI-VAC, that was developed by Codagenix using a needle-free, intranasal delivery.

COVI-VAC is a single-dose vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

It contains the entire virus in a weakened form.

The clinical trial is being conducted by Open Orphan subsidiary Hvivo at its London facility.

Hvivo is working in collaboration with the Codagenix biotech group to conduct the Phase 1 study of COVI-VAC, that if successful will result in a larger group trials group of the drug.

The study will evaluate the safety and tolerability of the single-dose intranasal vaccine candidate in 48 healthy young adult volunteers.

The study will also evaluate the vaccine’s ability to cause an immune response.

In a statement, Open Orphan said the vaccine has the potential to address several key logistical challenges to immunisation against SARS-CoV-2 across the world.

As a single-dose, intranasally-delivered vaccine, COVI-VAC will not require a needle and syringe to be administered, it will also not require ultra-low temperature freezers for storage.

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The product can be manufactured on a large scale and supports ease of administration in a mass vaccination campaign, according to Open Orphan.

That would enhance its attraction to developing countries, for example, which do not have the logistics to store and deliver other vaccines.

Codagenix expects to report initial data from the study by the middle of this year and is working with the Serum Institute of India as its global partner.

“We are delighted to have been chosen by the New York-based Codagenix to run this very important Covid-19 vaccine study in our quarantine clinic in London,” said Cathal Friel, executive chairman of Open Orphan.

“This vaccine is one of the first of the next-generation Covid-19 vaccines, it is a single-dose, needle-free, intranasal, live-attenuated Covid-19 virus vaccine.”

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