Scientists recently demonstrated in a "proof-of-concept" study that a phage-based inhalation delivery system for vaccines yields powerful antibody responses in mice and primates without leading to lung impairment.
The research findings propose that a safe and efficient delivery system of the lung could someday be employed for vaccines and other treatments against respiratory illnesses. The said findings were published in the Med journal on December 10.
According to Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey's Wadih Arap, co-senior study author, "This translational strategy potentially" allows more efficient delivery of treatments of vaccines while lowering the possibility of toxic side effects.
In the currently-ongoing study, the researchers said they hope "this work will play a crucial role in the development of targeted vaccines," as well as therapeutics to stop the spread of respiratory infectious illnesses, possibly for the present COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the background of underserved populaces.
ScienceDaily describes inhalation-based vaccination as "needle-free and slightly invasive," which is particularly attractive for administering multiple doses.
It also improves treatment bioavailability while decreasing the probable side effects by achieving a faster onset of action than the needle-based vaccine.
The study's co-senior author Renata Pasqualini from Rutgers Institute of New Jersey explained the "pervasive and accessible layer of cell surfaces in the lungs" is vastly vascularized, enabling rapid absorption of molecules throughout in much greater concentrations by evading the gastrointestinal tract and liver drug-metabolizing enzymes.
Pasqualini added, since the lungs are constantly exposed to pathogens from the air, they possibly have a high immune defense activity level, and thus, depict an efficient site for an immune shield against airborne pathogens.
The 'Lung Delivery' Approach
As indicated in the study, lung delivery could shield from airborne pathogens that lead to illnesses like tuberculosis, measles, Ebola virus, influenza, and now, COVID-19.
However, this approach has not been accepted widely, partly due to the underlying physiological mechanisms stay largely unknown.
Addressing this issue is crucial for designing a universal lung delivery system for extensive use. In this new research, Arap and Pasqualini developed and verified a safe, efficient lung delivery system that could be applied for a comprehensive range of "translational applications, and presented how it's working.
In addition, such an approach engages the use of phages, viruses that can infest and imitate or duplicate within microbial cells. In certain vaccine types, phage particles carrying peptides are used to activate protective immune reactions.
Safe and Effective
The authors also said this new lung delivery system is proven safe and effective. More so, it has distinctive advantages for the vaccines' development and treatments against airborne pathogens.
According to research, phage particles induce quite strong and sustained immune reactions minus the production of toxic side effects.
As they do not duplicate inside eukaryotic cells, their function is commonly regarded as a safe approach compared to other traditional viral-based vaccination approaches.
When it comes to practical implementation, phage particles are highly steady under harsh environmental situations, and their large-scale production is greatly cost-efficient compared to the classical approaches used for the production of vaccines.