A study by Duke University Published in bioRxiv has indicated that Vaxart Inc.’s (NASDAQ: VXRT) experimental oral tablet vaccine can reduce airborne SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission in animal models. According to the study, mucosal vaccines can protect vaccinated as well as unvaccinated animals.
Oral vaccine induces mucosal protection
The study results are consistent with those of the company’s second phase human flu challenge trial that demonstrated the potential of the oral tablet in reducing shedding relative to the injectable flu vaccine comparator. In addition, current injectable COVID-19 vaccines have a limitation in that airborne transmissions can occur in people that have received the vaccine.
The company’s Chief Scientific Officer and study’s lead author Sean Tucker said, “These findings show that our vaccine candidate can reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2, even when there is infection breakthrough in vaccinated subjects. Existing injected vaccines don’t always protect against viral shedding and transmission to other people. A vaccine that reduces shedding and reduces the probability of infection could make a big difference in protecting lives and public health, particularly given the large number of unvaccinated individuals.”
Vaxart commences enrolment in oral tablet clinical trial
Vaxart has commenced recruitment in the global second phase COVID-19 oral table vaccines study. The company plans to dose the first 96 subjects in the US divided evenly between mRNA vaccinated and COVID-19 naïve subjects at the end of this month. Notably, the Phase II clinical trial will include other countries besides the US, beginning with India.
CEO Andrei Floroiu said, “Phase II is an extremely important milestone in the development of the first and only COVID-19 oral tablet vaccine that has reached this phase of development. An oral vaccine has the potential to dramatically impact the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to improve global public health. It can be easier and faster to administer than injectables and can help mitigate vaccine hesitancy, as many of those unwilling to get vaccinated by needle would take an oral tablet vaccine.”