The world’s first oral Covid-19 vaccine is being prepared for clinical trials - here's how it works

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 2:37 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 2:56 pm
The world’s first oral Covid-19 vaccine is preparing for clinical trials - how it works (Photo: Shutterstock)

The world’s first oral Covid-19 vaccine is being prepared to enter Phase 1 clinical trials by an Israeli-American pharmaceutical company.

Based on technology developed by Hadassah-University Medical Center, the joint venture between Premas Biotech and Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc will see the development of a novel oral Covid-19 vaccine.

‘Potential enabling people to take the vaccine themselves at home’

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The vaccine is based on ‘POD’ oral delivery technology developed by Oramed. This will allow the vaccine to orally administer a number of protein-based therapies, which would otherwise be delivered by injection.

Oramed CEO Nadav Kidron, believes the technology could revolutionise the marketplace. He said: “An oral Covid-19 vaccine would eliminate several barriers to rapid, wide-scale distribution, potentially enabling people to take the vaccine themselves at home.

“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 vaccine candidate is expected to commence a clinical study during the second quarter of 2021. Trails are being applied for in multiple countries, including the United States, Israel, Europe and Mexico.

How does the oral vaccine work?

The vaccine underwent a pilot animal study and found the vaccine promoted the development of Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies and Immunoglobulin A (IgA). IgA is necessary for longer-term immunity.

The Oravax vaccine targets three structural proteins of the novel coronavirus, as opposed to the single spike protein target by the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Something Kidron claims should make the vaccine “much more resistant to Covid-19 variants.”

Because the vaccine is yeast-based, the time and cost of production is much cheaper than the vaccines currently available on the market. Kidron also claims that oral medications tend to have fewer side effects.