Mortified of being vaccinated, as the procedure involves an especially sharp needle?
Well, there may be an alternative method on its way soon, and this one’s a lot less… painless.
A COVID-19 Vaccine That’s Taken as a Pill is Entering Clinical Trial This Year
According to Business Insider, a COVID-19 vaccine, which comes in the form of a pill, could begin clinical trials within 2021.
And lest you’re wondering, no it’s not the kind of pill that you pop into your rear end.
Rather, it goes into your mouth.
Or at least, that’s what we are led to believe.
According to the news report, the substance is produced by Oravax – a joint venture between the Israeli-American company Oramed and the Indian company Premas Biotech.
They have announced an intention to commence the first phase of human trials by June.
Nadav Kidron, CEO of Oramed, has since expressed that an oral vaccine could “potentially [enable] people to take the vaccine themselves at home”.
It can be transported in a standard refrigerator as well, where it’s kept at room temperature.
This makes “it logistically easier to get it anywhere around the world,” Kidron added.
In addition, they would benefit those who are afraid of needles and could even provide benefits over other conventional vaccines.
However, there is reportedly no confirmed notion of success, and even if it does work it could take an entire year before the vaccine is authorised for public use.
For reference, Moderna and Pfizer started their first human trials in March and May 2020 respectively. The vaccines were only authorised several months later.
Prof. Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine at the University of East Anglia, has also sent a warning.
“We would need properly conducted studies to prove [oral vaccines’] worth,” he said.
However, he did acknowledge an oral vaccine’s possible benefits.
It should be noted that there has been a previous oral COVID-19 vaccine test by a company named Vaxart.
Though results in animal trials were deemed to be promising, the vaccine ultimately faltered in the initial human trials.
Oravax would surely hope to avoid such a fate, considering how its animal trials, too, seem to display encouraging results.
“The results of the animal studies are encouraging”, Hunter told Insider. “But don’t assume that animal results always translate into human results”.
“We need human studies to be sure,” he said.
Meanwhile, researchers are working on second-generation alternatives such as nasal-spray vaccines.
They are also looking into patch-form solutions.
According to reports, Oxford is currently exploring the notion of tablets, as well as nasal-spray oral vaccines.
China’s Sinovac, however, remains under review.
Apparently, additional data is “required to assess if it can meet the required standards for quality, safety and efficacy for interim authorisation under the Pandemic Special Access Route,” said HSA.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has since made it clear that Singapore will “use vaccines from any source,” as “vaccines do not carry nationality”.
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