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Opinion
Therese Raphael and Sam Fazeli

Why an Up-Your-Nose Covid Spray Will Be Costly

Nasal vaccines against the coronavirus variants are both promising and elusive.

Immunity through the nose? The H1N1 vaccine was a nasal spray.

Immunity through the nose? The H1N1 vaccine was a nasal spray.

Photographer: TIM SLOAN/AFP

If we are blithely ignorant now of rates of Covid-19 infection, it’s largely thanks to vaccines, which kept most people free from serious illness. But the immune defenses we get from vaccines and from infection wane in time. Disease in circulation means the new variants and subvariants are likely, with no guarantee that they will be weaker or less transmissible than previous iterations.

The question for next winter and beyond is whether and how we’ll keep revaccinating the population. The White House convened scientists, doctors and researchers Tuesday to talk about next-generation vaccines. One option that has many excited are nasal spray vaccines, but there is also reason for caution.