Image copyright EPA Image caption Scientists found that the CC398 killed the men’s immune systems just as effectively as the traditional jab
British regulators have approved an anti-influenza drug with no side effects for adults, which treats the flu rather than an illness that causes it.
The Coronavirus Boostershot will prevent infection in the same way that flu shot protects people against the virus.
It is not approved to treat those with a severe or specific flu infection but it could be given to adults across the UK to protect others.
There are no cases of those over 65 getting infected with the Coronavirus in the UK.
The British Medical Association warned there were “potential concerns” about the jab.
Dr Steve Wilkie, from the BMA, said: “If this spray treatment is fully rolled out across the UK, it will need to be given to everyone aged over 65, which means the administration will potentially involve a considerable number of GP appointments.”
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Few people get seriously ill from flu, but around 200 people die each year from complications, including pneumonia
But critics say the vaccine will do little to stop flu in the future.
Dr Brian Paddick, Emeritus Professor of Immunology at King’s College London, who is non-executive chairman of the British Lung Foundation, said: “This is a desperate way to solve the [influenza] problem.
“First we had the flu vaccine which worked, but now we have vaccine which doesn’t work.
“You know what that means? When we have no more vaccines, nobody is going to be protected.”
Coronavirus is a respiratory virus, so the British Drug and Device Regulatory Agency (DDRRA) had no ethical approvals to add the vaccine to routine healthcare in the UK.
The vaccine itself has no known side effects and protects against three strains of flu, all of which are common in the UK.
The vaccination will not be available over the counter, with a prescription system recommended instead.
Even though Coronavirus is never caused by a flu shot, many NHS trusts are still offering the seasonal flu jab.
Dr Greg Farrar, chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which recommends healthcare at the “highest standard”, has not taken a view on the Coronavirus Booster.
There are plans to test the vaccine in children with the other flu strains before it is available in stores.
Dr Farrar told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What we are required to do is to give expert advice to individual providers of vaccines, whether it’s flu, pneumonia or other infectious diseases, and to make sure those recommendations are made about the specific options that will be relevant and safe for that particular patient population.
“We are not going to say whether this new drug or this vaccine or this nasal spray is going to be the best option for people over 65.
“That is not what we are here to do.”
Nice was set up in 1961 to promote quality of care, to ensure providers are offering appropriate and safe services at “the highest standard”.
Flu UK’s chief executive, Catherine Clutton, said the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England would “work together” to put in place any wider roll-out plans for Coronavirus.
Coronavirus kills more than 200 people in the UK each year, according to figures from the British Medical Journal.
Prof Jane Joyce, a flu expert at Newcastle University, said the NHS should “plan for every eventuality”.
“In the current experience of vaccines, around 10% of people in the UK get sick from the flu vaccine,” she told the Today programme.
“We do really need to be prepared for that risk.”
Coronavirus is not unique to humans.
Nasal spray protection was given to children with a virus in Canada in 1998, which experts argued then was ineffective.
Coronavirus is frequently spread by infected birds but no other animal or animal-to-human transmission has been linked to humans.
The virus was first identified in 2012 and is found in squashes and soil in Australia and Pakistan.