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Wait, are they making a COVID-19 vaccine pill?

Oravax recently announced it will begin trials on a new COVID-19 vaccine pill

Smith’s pharmacist Thuy Holley sorts through packets of syringes for administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination event at a church in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 20, 2021. The Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition, Smith’s Pharmacy and Salt Lake County teamed up to host the event, with the plan of administering up to 1,170 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people of Pacific Islander descent.
Smith’s pharmacist Thuy Holley sorts through packets of syringes for administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination event at a church in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 20, 2021. The Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition, Smith’s Pharmacy and Salt Lake County teamed up to host the event, with the plan of administering up to 1,170 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people of Pacific Islander descent.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

The company Oravax announced this week that it is working on a COVID-19 vaccine that would be swallowed by pill without the need for an injection.

  • Per Business Insider, the pill form of the vaccine could enter the first phases of a clinical trial this year, which is the first step in developing such a vaccine. There are currently no pill versions of the COVID-19 vaccine.

What’s going on?

Oravax said in a statement it hopes to start clinical trials on the coronavirus vaccine pill by June.

  • “There is no guarantee of success, and even if it works it could be a year or more before it is authorized for use,” according to Insider.
  • The pill would be a “second generation” vaccine, which are often used for widespread distribution, according to Insider. A vaccine in pill form would be easier to administer as well.

Will it work?

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said in an email to Business Insider that there needs to be caution with this idea.

  • “We would need properly conducted studies to prove (oral vaccines’) worth,” he said. “But they may also be of value in people who are severely needle phobic and may be easier and more rapid to administer.”
  • Hunter said a pill could do better than injections to stop future infections.

For now, you’ll have to get the COVID-19 vaccine through an injection.

Another pill for COVID-19

The Wall Street Journal reports that a new experimental COVID-19 pill — which would “be a kind of Tamiflu for the pandemic” — has shown some positive results in early studies so far.

  • The pill “significantly reduced infectious virus in subjects in a mid-stage study after five days of treatment,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • More studies on that pill are underway right now.