Inhaled vaccine delivery in the combat against respiratory viruses: A 2021 overview of recent developments and implications for COVID-19

Rick Heida, Wouter L. J. Hinrichs*, Henderik W. Frijlink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: As underlined by the late 2019 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), vaccination remains the cornerstone of global health-care. Although vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 are being developed at a record-breaking pace, the majority of those that are licensed or currently registered in clinical trials are formulated as an injectable product, requiring a tightly regulated cold-chain infrastructure, and primarily inducing systemic immune responses.Areas covered: Here, we shed light on the status of inhaled vaccines against viral pathogens, providing background to the role of the mucosal immune system and elucidating what factors determine an inhalable vaccine's efficacy. We also discuss whether the development of an inhalable powder vaccine formulation against SARS-CoV-2 could be feasible. The review was conducted using relevant studies from PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar.Expert opinion: We believe that the scope of vaccine research should be broadened toward inhalable dry powder formulations since dry vaccines bear several advantages. Firstly, their dry state can tremendously increase vaccine stability and shelf-life. Secondly, they can be inhaled using disposable inhalers, omitting the need for trained health-care personnel and, therefore, facilitating mass-vaccination campaigns. Thirdly, inhalable vaccines may provide improved protection since they can induce an IgA-mediated mucosal immune response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-974
Number of pages18
JournalExpert review of vaccines
Issue number7
Early online date25-Aug-2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2022

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