- Researchers in Japan have developed a Covid vaccine in pill form
- When given to monkeys, it saw them develop the necessary antibodies
- READ MORE: FDA approves new Covid booster vaccines for every American
You might soon be able to take a pill instead of a vaccine to protect against Covid.
Researchers in Japan have developed a Covid vaccine in pill form which, when given to monkeys, saw them produce the necessary antibodies to protect against the virus without producing any visible side effects.
Just like a vaccine, the pill contains a small inactive part of the Covid virus, but the antibodies are released in the mucus, instead of the blood, so they are closer to the real virus and can destroy it more quickly.
The FDA approved a new Covid booster vaccine on Tuesday, hoping to rev up protection ahead of winter as cases rise across the country, but appetite for yet another shot is dwindling and a pill form of immunization could counter falling vaccination rates.
Researchers in Japan have developed a Covid vaccine in pill form which, when given to monkeys, saw them produce the necessary antibodies to protect against Covid without any visible side effects
The most effective way to stop viruses is before they enter human cells and researchers believe it is important for antibodies to be produced in the mucus so they are closer to where the virus lives on the external surface of epithelial cells, which generate mucus.
A specific category of antibodies, called Immunoglobulin A, function in mucus and can neutralize viruses, but production of specific immunoglobulins or antibodies for a virus, like those to protect against Covid, has to be induced by a vaccination.
In this study, researchers found an oral Covid vaccine induced production of immunoglobulin A when take orally, under the tongue, by monkeys. And the vaccine did not produce notable side effects, unlike some traditional vaccines that have been used.
The oral immunization is a type of protein-based vaccine, like the one used for HPV or hepatitis B.
It works by containing a piece of the virus, which triggers an immune response and generates antibodies. Those are then able to be reproduced by the body if it comes into contact with the virus in the future.
The scientists said it could mean that with further research, clinics might soon be able to give out oral vaccines for Covid, which may be more popular than shots and more protective against the virus.
Oral vaccines are not a new type of immunization. Other diseases that are vaccinated against orally include polio, adenovirus and typhoid.
The research was published Wednesday in the journal Biology Methods and Protocols.