Oral coronavirus vaccine candidate enters clinical trial

An oral coronavirus vaccine candidate has entered the clinical trial phase, bringing with it a possible option for those wary of needles. Vaxart Inc. announced on Tuesday that the first subject had received a dose of the VXA-CoV2-1 oral tablet in a Phase 1 clinical trial.

The trial has enrolled 48 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 54 years old. The participants will receive a low or high dose of VXA-CoV2-1 on day 1 and again on day 29. The safety and immunogenicity of the drug will be evaluated for approximately two months, and again during a 12-month follow-up period.

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In addition to offering an alternative to those who fear or dislike needles, the company is hopeful that a tablet form of a vaccine will help to address some of the mass distribution concerns, such as needing temperature-controlled storage and administration.

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“We are very excited about our oral tablet vaccine entering the clinic because we believe that the COVID-19 pandemic needs an oral alternative to injectable vaccines,” Andrew Floroiu, Vaxart’s chief executive officer, said in a news release. “Our temperature stable oral tablet vaccine has the potential to ease many of the problems associated with distribution and administration of cold chain dependent injectable vaccines and may make herd immunity more achievable by making it much easier to vaccine more people faster. We are looking forward to receiving the first clinical data in the next few weeks.”

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Vaxart has partnered with Kindred BioSciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company to manufacture the drug.