Nadhim Zahawi, vaccines minister, has said the Government is assessing “technologies with pills” being developed around the globe. US-based ImmunityBio is using UK-developed technology to create vaccines in a pill or tablet form – and has started clinical trials.
IosBio, based in Sussex, has engineered a vaccine in oral form and carried out initial trials on monkeys. It is said to have produced “highly effective” results.
Mr Zahawi told Times Radio: “There are technologies with pills and others being developed around the world and we will continue to look at those.
“But we’re making sure the UK will always have the capability and capacity to manufacture the variant vaccines that will deal with any variant virus.”
More than 12 million people in the UK have had their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
The Government set a goal of giving first doses to 15 million people in the top four priority groups by February 15.
South Africa has delayed the roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine after a new study showed it offered “minimal protection” to its new strain of Covid.
The nation had been due to start vaccinations with the jab next week until findings of the study, which involved 2,000 people, were published.
The mutation accounts for 90 percent of the cases in South Africa.
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“We need to be aware that even where a vaccine has reduced efficacy in preventing infection there may still be good efficacy against severe disease, hospitalisation, and death.
“This is vitally important for protecting the healthcare system.”