Premas Biotech (Gurugram, India) and Oramed Pharmaceuticals (Jerusalem) have announced that they are developing an oral COVID-19 vaccine that has shown efficacy after a single dose in animals.
To accelerate the development of the vaccine, the two companies have created a joint venture known as Oravax Medical.
The availability of effective single-dose oral COVID-19 vaccines could go far in simplifying logistics.
Supply chain challenges have hampered mass vaccination campaigns in many parts of the world. Many coronavirus vaccines require two doses and several require uncommonly cold storage temperatures.
“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, CEO of Oramed in a statement. “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.”
To date, Premas Biotech has tested the vaccine in a pilot animal study and found that it led to the generation of immunoglobulins A and G — both important antibodies.
The vaccine uses virus-like particles and is designed to target the spike, membrane, and envelope portions of the SARS CoV-2 virus.
The San Francisco biotech Vaxart is also developing an oral COVID-19 vaccine.
That company, however, reported that it did not detect SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies in the majority of subjects who received the vaccine in a Phase 1 trial.