Israeli COVID-19 Pill Vaccine Starts Trials in South Africa

Israeli inventors of an oral coronavirus vaccine have been given the green light to begin clinical trials in South Africa and hope to be up and running next month.

Oramed Pharmaceuticals has received authorization from the Health Products Regulatory Authority of South Africa to initiate patient enrollment in a Phase 1 clinical trial for its Oravax pill.

“We are excited to move forward with clinical trials of our oral COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa,” Nadav Kidron, CEO of Oramed, the company behind the pill, told The Times of Israel, adding that as Boosters are increasingly being recommended, your pill could provide an effective way to keep vaccinations up-to-date.

The South African trial is expected to take place at the same time as a Tel Aviv trial that will begin soon when approvals from Israel’s Ministry of Health are finalized.

The vaccine will be suitable for use as a starter or booster shot, Kidron added, noting that for both uses it has “many benefits.”

He said: “These include the ease of distribution and the fact that most people prefer to take a pill rather than an injection, especially in Africa. Especially in countries with low vaccination rates, a safe, effective and easy-to-swallow vaccine could be a game changer to fight the virus and get life back to normal. “

Illustrative image: an Israeli woman receives a booster vaccine against the coronavirus; Oramed aims to introduce oral vaccines instead (Michael Giladi / Flash90)

Oravax is a single-dose oral version of a potential vaccine that is being developed in partnership with India-based Premas Biotech and announced in March that it had successfully raised antibodies in pigs. The pill is expected to be suitable as a simple initial vaccination, as it will not need to be stored at low temperatures and will eliminate the need for professionals to administer injections.

“We believe that Oravax’s oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate could offer an exciting potential solution to the pandemic, either as a booster or for the unvaccinated,” Kidron said.

“An oral COVID-19 vaccine would remove several barriers to rapid and large-scale distribution, potentially allowing people to administer the vaccine themselves at home. After this Phase 1 trial, our intention is to move forward with a Phase 2 and 3 trial for the approval of emergency use in the relevant countries, ”he added.

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