World's First Oral COVID-19 Vaccine To Go On Clinical Trial

The pill could facilitate wide-scale distribution and has proven to produce antibodies after just one dose.
Fabienne Lang
Interesting Engineering

The world's first oral COVID-19 vaccine will soon go through its first clinical trial, which means that the vaccine would be self-administered, more easily and quickly distributed, and have fewer side effects.

Created by a new pharmaceutical company called Oravax Medical Inc., the new oral vaccine will start its first phase of clinical trials in the year's second quarter. 

Oravax Medical is a joint venture between Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, and Premas Biotech PvT. that will look into developing the novel oral COVID-19 vaccine.

The capsule will be a combination of Oramed's technology, which can be used to orally administer various protein-based therapies and Premas' vaccine development.

Taking an oral vaccine against COVID-19 could have a number of positive attributes.

For instance, it would be easier and faster logistically-speaking to distribute a pill version of the vaccine. It would also be easier to administer an oral version of the injection as people would potentially be able to take the pill at home.

On top of that, Oravax's oral COVID-19 vaccine could be a better candidate for protection against the new variants of the coronavirus as it benefits from being a "virus-like particle triple antigen vaccine," as the company points out. 

In addition to being safe and more easily distributed, taking an oral version of the vaccine may also minimize side effects, Oramed's CEO Nadav Kidron said to the Jerusalem Post. Given the latest worries over blood clots potentially created by COVID-19 vaccine injections such as AstraZeneca's, this may be a welcome method.

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So far, the company has carried out animal clinical trials and found out that the vaccine promoted the development of antibodies, which are necessary for longer-term immunity.

It's also a more affordable version of the vaccine to make compared with its competitors, as it's yeast-based. And as the capsules don't have to be kept at freezing temperatures, they are more easily shipped and kept around the world. 

The team's next steps include human clinical trials in the second quarter of 2021, with data to be shared within the next three months Kidron expects.

Orally ingesting a COVID-19 vaccine certainly sounds like it could be a good alternative to injections.

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