Oral COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shows Promise in Animal Tests

(Reuters) – An experimental “booster” vaccine against COVID-19 that is taken by mouth has yielded promising early results in studies in rats, Israeli researchers said.

The oral vaccine, MigVax-101, targets multiple sites on the coronavirus. Along with the spike protein on the surface of the virus, which is the target of currently available vaccines, the oral vaccine also targets two sites on the virus shell, which encapsulates its genetic material.

In laboratory experiments, rats that had received two doses of vaccines that targeted the spike protein were given the oral booster.

“These rats developed a much higher level of antibodies for neutralizing the disease than did control group rats that received a placebo or a third injection of the (original) vaccine,” David Zigdon of MIGAL Galilee Research Institute Ltd told Reuters.

If it is proven safe for humans, an oral vaccine might trigger strong immune responses in the mucosal surfaces of the mouth and upper respiratory tract, which would in turn help block viral entry, his team speculated in a report posted on bioRxiv ahead of peer review.

An oral vaccine could be particularly useful in developing countries because it would avoid the need for distribution of needles and could be self-administered, they said.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3xcr96Q bioRxiv, online June 9, 2021.

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