Time to Give Vaxart’s Oral COVID Pill a Shot in the Arm
Despite federal and other mandates, many people in the U.S. and worldwide opted against vaccination against the COVID-19 virus and its variants; millions more worldwide lack easy access to these vaccines. Many others who got initial vaccinations looked at the side effects of injection-based vaccines that promised protection and “just said no” to further injections.
With COVID-19 likely to resurface this winter in evolving variants, world health authorities and medical personnel – along with at-risk populations – are looking for better answers. Mandating injection-based vaccines has become increasingly unpopular and in many cases has been deemed unlawful. Elsewhere, the injection-based vaccines are just not available.Surprisingly, there may soon be a viable alternative to injection-based vaccination on the market. Vaxart, a U.S.-based vaccine company, until 2020 had focused exclusively on developing vaccines for H1N1 and H5N1 flu, influenza B, norovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, and Human Papillomavirus.These vaccines are currently in various stages of clinical and pre-clinical trials, with many positive results. Remarkably, Vaxart’s vaccine tablet proved as good, if not better, than the leading injectable vaccine against flu viruses in a phase II trial.With the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, Vaxart shifted its focus to developing an oral tablet vaccine against COVID-19 and its variants that would operate by stimulating mucosal activity. Today, Vaxart is the first company in the world to have a Phase II non-injection-based vaccine.Vaxart claims its oral vaccine could offer four major advantages over injection-based vaccines. First, mucosal antibodies are more cross-reactive and cross-protective, and data from trials with Vaxart’s anti-COVID-19 tablets indicate half the subjects had an increased immune response against variants. Other data suggest that the oral vaccine elicits a stronger response in T‑cells, killing off the virus quicker, and thus reduces the potential death toll.
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