A coronavirus vaccine which exists in pill form could enter the first phases of clinical trials by June this year, Business Insider reports.
Oravax, the company working on the pill vaccines, announced in a press release that it hopes to begin the first phase of clinical trials in humans soon to protect across emerging mutations of the coronavirus. Additionally, the oral delivery of the vaccine should allow for “widescale inoculation and easier distribution of the vaccine without requiring an injection.”
In the press release, CEO of Oramed, Nadav Kidron said an oral vaccine could “potentially [enable] people to take the vaccine themselves at home.”
Kidron also stated that the vaccine could be shipped in a normal refrigerator and stored at room temperature, “making it logistically easier to get it anywhere around the world.”
Oral vaccines are an option being assessed for “second-generation” vaccines, which are easier to administer, and simpler to distribute.
If the trials are a success, it could still be a year or more before it is authorized for use.
Per Insider, Professor in Medicine at the University of East Anglia, Paul Hunter wrote a letter of warning to the prospects of a pill-form vaccine saying, “We would need properly conducted studies to prove [oral vaccines’] worth,” but says “they may also be of value in people who are severely needle phobic and may be easier and more rapid to administer.”
Hunter goes on to provide the additional benefits over taking the vaccines that are taken in the arm saying, “The thing about systemic vaccines (shots in arms) in that they are generally very good at preventing severe disease” but they are often not great at preventing infection.
Other types of second-generation vaccines are also being investigated, like nasal-spray oral vaccines, tablets, and delivery through the use of microneedles to create “smart-patches.”