A Covid-19 vaccine in pill form could be put through the first phases of human clinical trials as early as June 2021.
The company working on the vaccine, Oravax, announced this earliest phase of developing an oral vaccine in a press release.
Success of an oral vaccine is not guaranteed though.
Data about the Oravax vaccine has not been published to date and any results pertaining to animal studies should not be imposed on human studies, which could turn out differently.
Oral vaccine development started in late 2020
The only test of an oral Covid-19 vaccine done in humans so far has failed.
In late 2020, a company, Vaxart, announced good results in animal trials, but got disappointing responses during first human trials.
The journey from testing to the vaccine being approved for use is also a year-long effort at least.
It took a year for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to be authorised for use after their first human trials started in March and May 2020, respectively.
Pros of oral vaccines
Oral vaccines are designed to be more scalable, easier to administer and distribute.
People could end up taking them at home by administering a dose by themselves.
They are developed to be assessed for "second-generation" vaccines.
The vaccine could be shipped in a normal refrigerator and stored at room temperature, the Jerusalem Post reported.
People who are severely needle phobic will undoubtedly benefit.
Oral vaccines can be more targeted
Oral vaccines could also offer other benefits over vaccines taken in the arm.
Vaccines injected into the body, also known as systemic vaccines, are good at preventing severe disease, but they fare poorer at preventing infection.
The theory is that oral vaccines focused on the nose and throat areas will help stop infection in those areas before it can develop to anything worse.
This has led to tests for vaccines to be administered via the nose or mouth.
Oxford is assessing the possibility of developing tablets and nasal-spray oral vaccines, The Independent reported on Feb. 25.
Oravax is a joint venture by two firms: Israeli-American company Oramed and the Indian company Premas Biotech.