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It could be the end of the needle for vaccines after COVID forced scientists to come up with alternatives.
They now believe that oral vaccines would be both easier to administer and more effective.
The best way to neutralize a virus is to do it whilst it is on the epithelial cells that produce mucus found in the lungs, nose and mouth.
The gets to it before it has entered the body of the cell.
A type of antibody known as Immunoglobulin A disables viruses and a vaccination that produces it would prevent disease.
As it operates in mucus, if it could be produced there rather than in the blood it would be far more effective.
This is where nasal and oral vaccines come in, according to the study published in the journal Biology Methods and Protocols.
Nasal vaccines have been used but they tend to produce side effects, such as headaches and fever.
However, the team from the EPS Innovative Medicine Company in Japan has come up with an oral vaccine for COVID-19 which induces the production of Immunoglobulin A.
It has been tested under the tongues of monkeys and produced the necessary protective antibodies without side effects.
Dr. Tetsuro Yamamoto Director of the Research Center at EPS said: “The practical mucosal vaccine will be administered through the nasal or oral cavity route.
“In the case of nasal route, the vaccine is sprayed into the nasal cavity, where it is difficult to know the exact point and/or amount of administered vaccine.
“Conversely, the oral route, especially sublingual administration, is simple and convenient because of self-visualizing all of the vaccination procedures, including site and amount.
“In two monkey groups that were given low and high RBD antigen doses, RBD-specific IgA and IgG antibodies were detected in their pituita and plasma, respectively.
“These provided positive results for further study on the safety and efficacy of sublingual vaccines to SARS-CoV-2 using the monkey model.”
This suggests that, with further research, clinics may soon be able to offer oral vaccines against the coronavirus, which would be more popular and more successful against the disease.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker