Israeli company to be world’s first to launch clinical trials of an ORAL COVID-19 vaccine
- Oravax Medical, a subsidiary of Jerusalem-based Oramed Pharmaceuticals, is developing an oral COVID-19 vaccine
- The oral vaccine targets three proteins on the virus rather than the single spike protein targeted by the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines
- Researchers say it is faster, cheaper and easier to produce than injectables and can be distributed to poorer countries
- The team will first test whether one or two pills are more effective and then compare the vaccine to a placebo
An Israeli company will be the first in the world to start clinical trials of an oral COVID-19 vaccine.
Oravax Medical, a subsidiary of Jerusalem-based Oramed Pharmaceuticals, has been given the green light to start the study by the Institutional Review Board of Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
The team is now awaiting approval from the Ministry of Health, which is expected in a few weeks.
Oramed CEO Nadav Kidron said: The Jerusalem Post that an oral vaccine would be faster, cheaper and easier to manufacture than vaccines that are injected.
In addition, it could be easily distributed to low- and middle-income countries.
“An oral COVID-19 vaccine would remove several barriers to rapid, large-scale distribution, potentially allowing people to take the vaccine themselves at home,” he said.
“While ease of administration is critical today to accelerate inoculation rates, an oral vaccine could become even more valuable in the event that an annual COVID-19 vaccine is recommended, such as the standard flu shot.”
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Oravax Medical, a subsidiary of Jerusalem-based Oramed Pharmaceuticals, is developing an oral COVID-19 vaccine
The oral vaccine targets three proteins on the virus rather than the single spike protein targeted by the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and researchers say it is faster, cheaper and easier to manufacture than injectables (file image)
The technology is the same the company uses to develop insulin capsules for type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients Nadav Kidron told The Jerusalem Post.
Kidron explained that the trials are initially being conducted as a “proof of concept” rather than testing efficacy.
Researchers recruit 24 unvaccinated volunteers, half of whom will receive one pill and the other half two pills.
The team will analyze safety and then take blood samples from the participants to measure antibody levels.
If the results prove successful, the study will move to Phase III when the capsules are tested against a placebo.
“The idea here is that we want to show proof of concept: that it works for people,” Kidron told The Jerusalem Post.
“I pray and hope that we will. Imagine if we can give someone an oral vaccine and they get vaccinated. This would be a revolution for the whole world.’
The Oravax vaccine targets three proteins on the virus rather than the single spike protein targeted by the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
Kidron says this should help the pill be much more effective against variants, which often have mutations on the spike protein.
“This vaccine should be much more resistant to COVID-19 variants,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
“Even if the virus goes through one line, there’s a second line, and if it goes through the second line, there’s a third.”
The pill can be shipped in a refrigerated cooler and even stored at room temperature, unlike other COVID-19.
In addition, it does not need to be administered by a health professional, making it easy to distribute in schools, offices and other businesses.