Several coronavirus vaccine taken orally are currently being tested, in which some will enter human trials at the start of July.
Dr. Sean Tucker, the Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President for Research at Vaxart, Inc., said in an interview, “My hope is that us and others will be able to have very large vats of [vaccine] material, millions and millions of doses by the end of the year, early next year.”
Vaxart is among several contenders racing towards finding a viable vaccine against COVID-19, and Dr. Tucker, along with his team, has been working tirelessly since January to make it a reality.
“We hope that a vaccine solution will allow things to open up and for people to be going out and about again,” he said.
The vaccines are made from inserting some of the 30 genes that comprises COVID-19’s genetic make-up into a dead adenovirus – one of the causes of common colds.
Adenoviruses are behind around 10 percent of childhood illnesses, and it is estimated that almost every child had at least one illness caused by it.
“We essentially build in DNA that encodes proteins of Covid-19. If you put it in the intestine in the right context, you get a really strong immune response to those proteins,” Dr. Tucker explained.
“Because we’re delivering it to a wet surface – the mucosa of the intestine – you get a great immune response throughout the blood but you also get antibodies and T cells at sites of the infection in the lungs,” he added.
He further explained that it is how vaccines work, stating, “it’s designed to mount an immune response on wet surfaces such as the respiratory tract, which Covid-19 infects.”
The vaccines are now being tested on mice with promising results, as well as being lab tested for manufacturing sustainability.
The San Francisco-based immunologist had been praised by Dr. Anthony Fauci for his past works.