Finally a Cure for the Common Cold? And it’s Needle-free!

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Mucosis is starting Phase I trials for SynGEM, a needle-free vaccine against RSV, which causes 200k deaths per year and has a huge cost for both healthcare and the economy.

Mucosis is a biotech from the Netherlands developing needle-free vaccines. The company has now initiated the first human trial for SynGEM, a nasal spray vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), one of the most common viruses causing common colds.

The Phase I trial is taking place at Imperial College London and supported with €3.4M from the UK’s Wellcome Trust. In it, 36 volunteers were administered the vaccine and will be tested for antibody production. Results are expected in early 2017, followed by a Phase II programmed for mid-2017.

Although colds are often regarded as harmless, infants and elderly people are at high risk of developing pneumonia, bronchiolitis and other severe complications. The number of deaths attributed to RSV amounts to up to 200,000 per year, while others suffering from the 64 million annual infections can be left severely weakened.

mucosis rsv syngem

Mucosis’ Mimopath platform is based on immunostimulant bacterium-like particles (BLPs) optimized for mucosal administration that act as antigen carriers. In the case of SynGEM, the antigens are recombinant subunits of RSV’s F proteins. This approach is intended to counter the virus’ ability to induce immune amnesia and re-infect people several times.

The Dutch company is also using this platform to develop a needle-free flu vaccine that showed positive results back in 2012. Check out our interview with Tom Johnston, CEO of Mucosis, for more info.

Curing colds completely is extremely difficult, since there are around 200 different viruses behind them. However, rhinovirus, coronavirus, and RSV together account for 80% of all colds. By targeting one of the most common causes, this vaccine could make a big difference. Colds do not only take a big bite off healthcare spending, $40B in the US, but also reduce work productivity, translating into €2.7B a year loss in Sweden alone.

Heavy finance and public health assessments aside, wouldn’t it be nice to never catch a cold again?

Featured image by Jenny Sturm/; image from Mucosis.


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