New Form of COVID Vaccine in the Works

Two companies prepare to launch studies for a new oral form of the vaccine.
By Terrence Allen, STAFF WRITER
More than 175 million adults have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S., which is about a third of the population. Pfizer announced on March 23 that they have launched phase one of their study for a capsule form of the vaccine.
Pfizer was the first company to have its syringe vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. The capsule form of the vaccine would be used as an alternative to the shot and be able to fight off current and future variants of the coronavirus.
“Given the way that SARS-CoV-2 is mutating and the continued global impact of COVID-19, it appears likely that it will be critical to have access to therapeutic options both now and beyond the pandemic,” said Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD., Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical of Pfizer.
Pfizer is attempting to create an oral form of the vaccine that wouldn’t require individuals to be hospitalized if infected. This could create a quicker, more urgent response to the virus.
“We have designed PF-07321332 as a potential oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection, without requiring that patients are hospitalized or in critical care,” Dolsten said.
Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. is also looking to prepare an oral form of the pill. Similar to Pfizer, they are hoping to increase vaccine accessibility to everyone.
“An oral COVID-19 vaccine would eliminate several barriers to rapid, wide-scale distribution, potentially enabling people to take the vaccine themselves at home,” said Oramed Chief Executive Officer, Nadav Kidron.

Oramed is set to launch a study in the second quarter of 2021. A pill form of the vaccine would make it easier to distribute and make it easier for consumers to take. Until these studies advance further, it is unclear if and when the oral form of the vaccine will be available for mass distribution.