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Vaccine designed for oral use offer protection against Covid-19 disease: Duke University study

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The study also showed that this human vaccine which offers protection to the host was tested in animals and is designed to be taken as a pill. 

A Duke University study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine has shown that an investigational Covid vaccine designed to be taken orally can decrease airborne transmission of the virus to other close contacts. The study also showed that this human vaccine which offers protection to the host was tested in animals and is designed to be taken as a pill. 

The vaccine has the ability to limit infections and the spread of active virus in airborne particles as it works through the mucosal tissue to neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The study data shows that mucosal immunization is a viable strategy to decrease the spread of COVID through airborne transmission, according to Duke University researcher Stephanie N Langel, PhD, medical instructor in the Department of Surgery who led the study. 

“Unlike vaccines that are injected into the muscle, mucosal immunizations increase production of immunoglobulin A (IgA) as they are the immune system’s first line of defense against pathogens in the nose and lungs. These mucosal ports of entry are then protected, making it less likely that those who are vaccinated will transmit infectious virus during a sneeze or cough,” Langel stated.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the study.

In addition to Langel, study authors include Susan Johnson, Clarissa I Martinez, Sarah N Tedjakusuma, Nadine Peinovich, Emery G Dora, Philip J Kuehl, Hammad Irshad, Edward G Barrett, Adam Werts, and Sean N Tucker. The study focused on the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and new studies will be designed to test the vaccine against Omicron variants as well.

The vaccine, which uses an adenovirus as a vector to express the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, elicited a robust antibody response in blood and the lungs in studies using hamsters, according to a release. Langel including teams from the vaccine developer Vaxart, and a clinical research non-profit, Lovelace Biomedical Research Institute tested the vaccine candidate. There would be a substantial benefit to develop vaccines that not only protect against disease, but also reduce transmission to unvaccinated people,” stated Langel in a release from Duke University.
When the animals were exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus at high levels, prompting breakthrough infections, they were less symptomatic than non-vaccinated hamsters. They also had lower amounts of infectious virus in the nose and lungs. Because of this, they did not shed as much virus through normal airborne exposures.

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