Enter the intranasal vaccine, which abandons the needle and syringe for a spray container that looks more like a nasal decongestant. With a quick spritz up the nose, intranasal vaccines are designed to bolster immune defenses in the mucosa, triggering production of an antibody known as immunoglobulin A, which can block infection. This overwhelming response, called sterilizing immunity, reduces the chance that people will pass on the virus.
The development of highly effective COVID vaccines in less than a year is an extraordinary triumph of science. But several coronavirus variants have emerged that could at least partly evade the immune response induced by the vaccines. These variants should serve as a warning against complacency—and encourage us to explore a different type of vaccination, delivered as a spray in the nose. Intranasal vaccines could provide an additional degree of protection, and help reduce the spread of the virus.
What will the approval of the J&J vaccine mean for the immunization effort, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo responds to sex-harassment claims, and a troop made up of homeless girls is on a mission to sell Girl Scout cookies in all 50 states.
The Centers for Disease Control has launched a website to help Americans find locations of COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to increase the pace of vaccinations.
Also, the Biden administration is set to release a U.S. intelligence assessment on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives. And, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy faced heavy criticism in a House committee hearing about ongoing mail delays at the U.S. Postal Service.
Science Staff Writer Jon Cohen joins host Sarah Crespi to take on some of big questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, such as: Do they stop transmission? Will we need boosters? When will life get back to “normal.”
Sarah also talks with Anders Johansen, professor of planetary sciences and planet formation at the University of Copenhagen, about his Science Advances paper on a new theory for the formation of rocky planets in our Solar System. Instead of emerging out of ever-larger collisions of protoplanets, the new idea is that terrestrial planets like Earth and Mars formed from the buildup of many small pebbles.
A historic winter storm swept across the U.S., hitting particularly hard in Texas, where millions were left without power in record low temperatures.
Also, President Biden held a town hall as part of a tour to sell Americans and Congress on his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. And, an impending deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan is putting pressure on President Biden to make a choice his predecessors could not.
Eight different Covid-19 vaccines are currently being used around the world and just over 172 million people have received their first dose, 2.2 for every 100 people. All of the vaccines being used require two shots but that is set to change with Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ+0.3%JNJ+0.3% one-shot vaccine expected to gain regulatory approval for use in the United States within weeks. As it stands, the first Covid-19 vaccine to be authorized for use in the U.S. is also the most widely used shot globally, according to information from website Our World in Data reported by The New York Times.
With impeachment finished, Congress now returns to focusing on President Biden’s economic stimulus plan. But why do some economists say it could be too much?
Also, daily coronavirus cases are falling across the U.S. and the pace of vaccinations is increasing. And, in a change from the massive demonstrations last month, Russians in multiple cities used their cellphone flashlights to show their support for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.