The school says the vaccine will replicate within bacteria already inside a person’s body as it targets tissues in the nose and lower respiratory tract.
The university says the vaccine is being engineered to build immunity against COVID-19 and decrease the severity of symptoms.
“This research combines the expertise of many and leverages existing technology developed by my team, which we’re reconfiguring for a COVID-19 application,” Roderick Slavcev, a professor at Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy who specializes in designing vaccines, pharmaceuticals and gene-therapy treatments, said in a statement.
The school says researchers are attempting to create a vaccine that will enter cells and make a virus-like particle (VLP) that will create an immune response.
It says the VLP will have a similar structure to the virus that causes COVID-19 but cause no ill effects.
Slavcev is working with fellow School of Pharmacy professor Emmanuel Ho and Marc Aucoin, professor of chemical engineering, on the project, which is far from complete.
A team is working under Ho to develop the medication that will be delivered in the nasal spray while Slavcev’s team adjusts the delivery system that will be used in the final process.
The school says it is releasing information about the project now to help inform Canada’s COVID-19 response.