JERUSALEM, Israel – An Israeli-American pharmaceutical company will soon begin clinical trials on an oral pill version of the coronavirus vaccine.
Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Israeli company, has partnered with Premas Biotech to develop a single-dose oral vaccine that they hope can be used as a standalone vaccine or a booster for those who are already vaccinated against COVID-19.
A pilot study of the vaccine found that the oral COVID-19 vaccine promoted the production of antibodies in animals.
Clinical trials will soon begin in Israel and then will potentially be expanded to the international community.
“Our vaccine is a particularly strong candidate against the evolving COVID-19 virus due to its unique targeting of three proteins rather than one. With the Delta and other variants proving a challenge to health administrators globally, Oravax’s VLP technology could prove even more important in the effort to combat COVID,” said Nadav Kidron, CEO of Oramed.
The Oravax vaccine is designed to target three structural proteins on the virus, instead of the single spike protein targeted by Pfizer and Moderna. This could make the vaccine more effective in protecting against virus strains, the company claims.
Unlike the current COVID-19 vaccines, Oravax’s oral vaccine would not need to be stored at below-freezing temperatures, making its distribution and accessibility easier.
Kidron hopes the oral vaccine will help make it more accessible to parts of the world were vaccination rates are low.
"An oral COVID-19 vaccine would eliminate several barriers to rapid, widescale distribution, potentially enabling people to take the vaccine themselves at home,” said Kidron.
“While ease of administration is critical today to accelerate inoculation rates, an oral vaccine could become even more valuable in the case that a COVID-19 vaccine may be recommended annually like the standard flu shot.”