Covid-19: Potential new 'vaccine tablet' produces antibodies with one dose

The Oravax capsule is being developed thanks to a collaboration between an Indian pharmaceutical firm and an Israeli-American company

Man Removing Pills From Bottle. Getty Images
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An oral vaccine developed by an Indian pharmaceutical organisation and an Israeli-American company has been found to produce Covid-19 antibodies in animals after only one dose.

The ‘Oravax’ capsule combines the Premas Biotech vaccine with Oramed technology, which makes it possible to orally ingest a medication that would normally be delivered by injection.

Clinical data from the animal study is yet to be shared, but the development of an oral vaccine raises the possibility of people being able to self-vaccinate.

We are very excited about our oral vaccine candidate's potential to help end the pandemic

"An oral Covid-19 vaccine would eliminate several barriers to rapid, wide scale distribution, enabling people to take the vaccine themselves at home," said  Nadav Kidron,  chief executive of Oramed.

“While ease of administration is critical today to accelerate inoculation rates, an oral vaccine could become even more valuable in the likely case that a Covid-19 vaccine may be required annually or biannually like the standard flu shot.”

In the next few months, the companies will start human trials in their efforts to bring the tablet to market as soon as possible.

Oravax creates triple protection against Covid-19 by aiming at the three structural proteins of the virus – its spike, membrane, and envelope.

Moderna and Pfizer vaccines only target the single spike protein, which is found on the surface of the virus that causes Covid-19.

In animal studies, the vaccine promoted systemic immunity by encouraging the body to create both Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and Immunoglobulin A (IgA).

IgG is the most common antibody in blood and bodily fluids that protects against viral infections, whereas IgA protects the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.

There are currently over 70 other promising Covid-19 vaccines going through clinical trials, including Bharat Biotech (Covaxin), EpiVacCorona, Valneva, Novavax and SpyBiotech.

A further 182 are in still in preclinical studies.

The nature of the collaboration between the two pharmaceutical companies accelerated the development of the vaccine, said Dr Prabuddha Kundu, co-founder and managing director of Premas Biotech.

“Oramed’s experience and success in conducting Phase 2 and 3 oral protein trials positions our programme very favourably in the race to find an effective oral Covid-19 vaccine that can be administered by anyone, anywhere,” he added.

The vaccine is easy to produce, and can be cheaply manufactured on a large scale.

Distribution of oral vaccines is also easier because they do note need to be kept at a certain temperature.

“We are very excited about our oral vaccine candidate’s potential to help end the pandemic.” said Mr Kidron.

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