UNL Professor to Develop Nasal Spray COVID-19 Vaccine

Nov. 4, 2020, 3:13 p.m. ·

(Photo Courtesy Craig Chandler, University Communication)

A Nebraska virologist is developing a COVID-19 vaccine that is less painful and has a smaller price tag -- a nasal spray.

With support from the Office of Research and Economic Development’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Program, UNL Professor Shi-Hua Xiang said he’s bioengineering a safe bacteria, commonly found in yogurt, that will deliver the COVID-19 antigens through the nose and mouth.

"You can do masses of people and immunizations at the same time," Xiang said. "You just spray so that’s very simple."

The virologist said the product will be cheaper than needles and safer to use, but still be effective. The spray activates immunity right at the point of viral entry and will stay in the nose for a longer period of time. The vaccine is currently in early development stages and could take months or years until it’s ready for distribution.