Health & Wellness

Canadian COVID-19 Vaccines Being Developed

Among other initiatives, a nasal spray vaccine is in development at the University of Waterloo


We may be able one day to use a nasal spray to immunize people against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo (ON) are working on a DNA-based vaccine that would generate an immune-response in the nasal cavity and target tissues in the lower respiratory tract.

“When complete, our DNA-based vaccine will be administered non-invasively as a nasal spray that delivers nanomedicine engineered to immunize and decrease COVID-19 infections,” said Roderick Slavcev, a professor in the School of Pharmacy at Waterloo who specializes in, among other things, designing vaccines.

The vaccine will limit possible sites for transmission in the body by “binding to the same receptors SARS-CoV-2” can bind to, the researchers said in a statement.

“By causing these changes in the body, the vaccine will build immunity against COVID-19 and decrease the severity of infections in progress—serving as both a therapeutic and a vaccine,” they said.

The research into the vaccine is preliminary and has yet to be peer reviewed.

Research on the vaccine will continue over the next year and is being funded in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Vaccines for COVID-19 are also being researched at several other universities in Canada, including Dalhousie University, McMaster University, the University of Alberta, Laval University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Manitoba and Western University.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said it could take anywhere from six to 18 months to get a vaccine to the market.

Photo: iStock/helenaak.