Researchers in Hong Kong are poised to begin human trials of an experimental vaccine for both the novel coronavirus and influenza, Bloomberg News reported.
The dual vaccine candidate will be delivered to participants in the form of a nasal spray similar to those already being used to immunize people against the flu. Scientists hope to trigger an immune response in the nose’s mucous membrane.
“Our idea is that we want both influenza and covid-19 protection at the same time,” Yuen Kwok-Yung, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.
Early-stage trials are slated to begin next month and will enroll roughly 100 volunteers. The experimental vaccine is one of dozens in development around the world, but appears to be the first that would also offer protection against the flu.
Public health experts around the world have warned that this year’s winter flu season could collide with the coronavirus pandemic, overwhelming hospitals. Since the two viruses often have similar symptoms, determining which illness is afflicting a patient could prove challenging, bogging down testing facilities.