In summer, the clinical trial of the first oral coronavirus vaccine

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The Vaxart company has announced that it has selected its candidate for the vaccine against Sars-Cov-2 and that phase I of the clinical trial could start already in the summer

(image: Getty Images)

The future vaccine against the new coronavirus you could take it by mouth, sending one down tablet. The project is under development by the company Vaxart as early as last January and the company announced that it had selected its best candidate, the one that gave the strongest and most lasting immune response in preclinical animal tests. If all goes well, Phase I of the human experimentation could already leave in summer.

Immunity pills

The future oral vaccine selected will be one tablet optimized to stimulate a immune reaction in the intestine. The viral antigens will be inserted within a viral vector (Adenovirus 5) that is unable to replicate, in association with an adjuvant molecule (dsRna). In order for the vaccine to arrive intact in the small intestine, the tablet will be coated with a casing to protect it from the acidic environment of the stomach.

This type of vaccine – explained the CEO of Vaxart Walter Latour in an interview with Technology Networks – it’s a lot versatile and will allow you to quickly add new antigens or create new combinations, if necessary, and is particularly suitable for repeated administrations because it does not elicit immune reactions against the viral vector but only against the antigens it carries.

Preclinical tests

According to Vaxart, the oral coronavirus vaccine in preclinical tests elicited a strong, broad and long-lasting immune response both systemically and mucous, further strengthened after the administration of a second dose. With these premises the researchers believe they can start the phase I of human experimentation (the one on a small number of people that also serves to identify the optimal dosage) shortly, perhaps already in summeralso with good results (published on Lancet Infectious diseases) already obtained in the phase II study of their H1 flu vaccine developed with a similar approach.

The advantages of oral administration

Vaxart specializes in the production of oral vaccines. The company is convinced that a vaccine in tablets, which generates an immune response effective as much as that of an intramuscular injection vaccine, it may be there winning card as for the storage and the distribution all over the world. It can be easily produced and stored in room temperature (no maintenance of the cold chain therefore), reaching even the most isolated or poorest areas of the globe. Not only that, as a tablet there is no need to have needles, syringes and more material that during a pandemic it could be difficult to find. Finally it could be accepted more easily by the population (especially if repeated administration is needed), expanding the coverage.

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https://www.wired.it/scienza/medicina/2020/05/28/coronavirus-vaccino-orale/

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