Mar. 25, 2021 -- A coronavirus vaccine that could be taken as a pill may enter clinical trials in the second quarter of 2021.
The oral vaccine is being developed by Oravax Medical, a new joint venture of the Israeli-American company Oramed and the Indian company Premas Biotech, Business Insider reported.
So far, all vaccines in use are delivered by injection. One advantage of an oral vaccine is that people could take it at home instead of having the vaccine administered by medical personnel at a central location.
In a news release, Oramed said the vaccine being developed would also be easier to distribute because it could be shipped in a normal refrigerator and stored at room temperature.
“An oral COVID-19 vaccine would eliminate several barriers to rapid, widescale distribution, potentially enabling people to take the vaccine themselves at home,” Nadav Kidron, CEO of Oramed, said in the news release. “While ease of administration is critical today to accelerate inoculation rates, an oral vaccine could become even more valuable in the case that a COVID-19 vaccine may be recommended annually like the standard flu shot.”
The Oravax vaccine “targets three structural proteins of the novel coronavirus, as opposed to the single spike protein targeted via the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines,” Kidron told The Jerusalem Post. That would make the vaccine more resistant to COVID-19 variants, he said.
The vaccine is yeast-based, which would make it cheaper to manufacture, the newspaper said.
The company said a pilot animal study proved promising. It’s not known how long clinical trials on humans would take.
“Oravax anticipates commencing a clinical study during the second quarter of 2021,” the news release said.
The CDC says that the rotavirus, adenovirus, cholera vaccine, and oral typhoid vaccines are the only vaccines administered orally in the United States.