There are many who have a needle-phobia. They hate a syringe being pushed into their body, be it for drawing blood for testing or injection of medicines.
Getting the COVID vaccine administered is a pain and irritation for them. But there could be good news for them in the not too distant future.
An oral vaccine is being developed in the US, which could offer protection from COVID-19 without the need for an injection, CBS Los Angeles reported.
ImmunityBio, founded by Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong — a co-owner of famous basketball team Los Angeles Lakers – has already started tests at a research centre in California. The aim is to replace injections with a series of pills to inoculate humans against coronavirus.
“To have a vaccine in form of a pill that can be kept in room temperature is life-changing,” trial physician Dr Tara Seery told CBS News.
The oral vaccine, being tested among healthy volunteers, is likely to provide better protection against COVID-19 and its mutations than the vaccines being used currently, feel members of the research team.
Since they are not yet sure whether the pill itself will be enough to stop transmission of coronavirus, the researchers are trying out different approaches.
Some volunteers are getting the vaccine injected, while some others are being given the capsule vaccine. Another category of volunteers are getting a combo — one injection and two rounds of pills. Volunteers are under the age of 55 and haven’t yet been infected by the deadly virus.
According to the report, existing vaccines create antibodies on the surface of the coronavirus, while ImmunityBio’s T-cell vaccine targets the globe-shaped centre of the virus which scientists think is less prone to mutation.
If the capsule vaccine is a success and gets regulator’s approval, it will have a three-fold advantage over injections as it will be faster, cheaper and easier to administer.
It’s only in experimental stage now, and could take up to a year before the process is completed and it can be rolled out.