Scientists responsible for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, first dispensed in the UK on January 4, are analysing whether it could be adapted to be administered in different modes. Professor Sarah Gilbert, vaccinology professor at the University of Oxford, discussed the issue before the Commons Science and Technology Committee.
She described the concept as “second generation formulations” of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Addressing the Science and Technology Committee, Prof Gilbert, according to The Times, said: “We have flu vaccines that are given by nasal spray, and this could be a very good approach in the future for vaccines against coronaviruses.
“It’s also possible to consider oral vaccination, where you take a tablet.
“That would have a lot of benefits for vaccine roll-out, if you didn’t have to use the needles and syringes.
“Both of those are approaches which we are beginning to assess.”
It is another indication of a growing momentum towards the creation of vaccines in different forms.
Earlier this month, Nadhim Zahawi, vaccines minister, suggested the Government is assessing “technologies with pills” being developed around the globe.
One such is US-based ImmunityBio which is using UK-developed technology to create vaccines in a pill or tablet form – and has started clinical trials.
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The nation is enjoying a rare moment of optimism in the fight against Covid-19 thanks to an effective vaccination campaign and new plans for exiting lockdown.
Research has suggested the rollout is having an enormous impact on preventing serious illness.
One dose reduces the risk of hospital admission by at least three-quarters for the over 80s, data from Public Health England and Public Health Scotland has found.