Coronavirus US: vaccine in tablet form is about to be tested on humans

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Millions of doses of a new Covid-19 vaccine could be in production by the end of the year, according to a San Francisco-based scientist who has been praised by Dr. Anthony Fauci for his work in the past.

Immunologist Dr. Sean Tucker is currently testing several different candidate vaccines in his California laboratory – some of which will enter human trials in early July, and all of which are given by pill rather than by injection.

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, Tucker said, “I hope we and others can have very large tanks of [vaccine] equipment, millions and millions of doses by the end of the year, early next year.

“I mean, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me given the amount of money the US government and others have provided.

“We hope that a vaccine solution will allow things to open and people to go out and start again. “

Immunologist Dr. Sean Tucker (photo) is currently testing several different Covid-19 vaccine candidates in his California lab - some of which will enter human trials in early July, all of which are given by pill rather than by injection.

Immunologist Dr. Sean Tucker (photo) is currently testing several different Covid-19 vaccine candidates in his California laboratory – some of which will enter human trials in early July, all of which are given by pill rather than by injection.

Vaccines are made from a dead adenovirus, one of the causes of common colds - and Tucker's team has inserted some of the genes that make up Covid-19. With his team of eight people, he has been working seven days a week since January in order to offer a viable vaccination

Vaccines are made from a dead adenovirus, one of the causes of common colds – and Tucker’s team has inserted some of the genes that make up Covid-19. With his team of eight people, he has been working seven days a week since January in order to offer a viable vaccination

HOW THE COMPRESSED VACCINE WORKS

Tucker’s vaccine candidates work by delivering the selected Covid-19 genes enclosed in a dead adenovirus in the lower intestine.

The adenovirus has been genetically engineered to ensure it survives exposure to stomach acid and only opens when it reaches the small intestine.

Once there, it is designed to react with the lining of the gut and cause an immune response to the Covid-19 genes.

The IgM and IgG antibodies it creates then circulate in the blood and have learned to attack anything that looks like Covid-19 by trying to attach to a moist surface like the lungs.

According to Tucker, the advantage of a tablet vaccine, unlike the traditional vaccine, is that the body is not trained to attack the vector – the adenovirus – because a tablet does not physically damage the body, unlike a vaccine that leaves a small wound.

Due to the injury, an immune response to the vector is sometimes also created, which means that the vaccine can only be used once.

However, one tablet can be used both as a booster and as an initial vaccine.

Tucker, 52, is the scientific director of Vaxart – a publicly traded biotechnology company specializing in the development of recombinant oral vaccines.

With his team of eight people, he has been working seven days a week since January with the aim of offering a viable vaccination for Covid-19.

He currently has several contenders, all of whom are accelerated by testing.

The vaccines are made from a dead adenovirus – one of the causes of common colds – in which Tucker’s team has inserted some of the 30 genes that make up Covid-19 DNA.

Adenoviruses are extremely common and cause around 10% of childhood illnesses and almost all children have had at least one disease caused by adenoviruses by the time they reach 10 years of age.

Tucker explained, “We basically build DNA that codes for the proteins in Covid-19. If you put it in the gut in the right context, you get a very strong immune response to these proteins.

“Because we deliver it to a moist surface – the lining of the gut – you get an excellent immune response in the blood, but you also get antibodies and T cells at the sites of infection in the lungs.

“This is how our vaccine works – it is designed to trigger an immune response on wet surfaces such as the respiratory tract, which Covid-19 infects.

Tucker’s process begins with the manufacture of adenovirus in the laboratory, then with the attachment of a biologically engineered molecule that refines it and allows it to cross the stomach and work in the intestine.

The Covid-19 genes are then inserted into the virus. Not all are used, only those that seem likely to produce a strong immune response.

The vaccines are currently being tested in the lab for their workability and being tested simultaneously in mice – and Tucker says the results have been promising so far.

Earlier this month, Vaxart announced that animal testing has shown an unusually early immunoglobin G [IgG] response to Covid-19.

Unlike most vaccines, which are intended for injection, Tucker's medicine will come in the form of tablets, which he says are made faster and are overcoming the current global shortage of vials and syringes caused by the pandemic.

Unlike most vaccines, which are intended for injection, Tucker’s medicine will come in the form of tablets, which he says are made faster and are overcoming the current global shortage of vials and syringes caused by the pandemic.

IgG is an antibody that kills viruses after their identification with an initial immunoglobin M [IgM] reply.

Once the attacker has been identified by IgM antibodies, the body produces IgG to kill the new virus.

These antibodies then remain in the blood and attack everything that looks like.

People who have had Covid-19 already have igG antibodies that kill coronaviruses and they are the ones who show up in antibody tests for the virus.

In July, phase 1 human trials will begin on a small group of patients. The trials will check if the vaccines work and if they produce side effects.

If all goes well, the drug will go to phase two, which uses a larger test group, followed by phase three which involves hundreds of people and would generally compare the drug to a standard product already available.

The final phase focuses on whether the vaccine produces long-term benefits or harms.

Volunteers will be recruited through research groups, many of which use social media to approach test subjects who can be based anywhere in the United States.

Previous Vaxart human trials have been conducted in all regions of the country: Costa Mesa, California, Kansas City, Missouri and Cleveland, Ohio.

Unlike most vaccines, which are intended for injection, Tucker’s medicine will come in the form of tablets which, he says, are made faster and are overcoming the current global shortage of vials and syringes caused by the pandemic.

The last vaccine Tucker worked on was a pill-based flu shot, a joint project between Vaxart and Stanford University, which started in 2015 and completed testing in January. A study published in the medical journal The Lancet showed that it was just as effective as a regular flu vaccine and that the development was praised by Fauci who described it as

The last vaccine Tucker worked on was a pill-based flu shot, a joint project between Vaxart and Stanford University, which started in 2015 and finished testing in January. A study published in the medical journal The Lancet showed that it was just as effective as a regular flu vaccine and that the development was praised by Fauci who described it as “encouraging” and “potentially important”.

Tucker's process begins with the manufacture of adenovirus in the laboratory, then with the attachment of a biologically engineered molecule that refines it and allows it to cross the stomach and work in the intestine. The Covid-19 genes are then inserted into the virus. Not all are used, only those that seem likely to produce a strong immune response

Tucker’s process begins with the manufacture of adenovirus in the laboratory, then with the attachment of a biologically engineered molecule that refines it and allows it to cross the stomach and work in the intestine. The Covid-19 genes are then inserted into the virus. Not all are used, only those that seem likely to produce a strong immune response

But whatever the method of administration, the pressure to create a vaccine is enormous.

Currently, 120 projects around the world are focused on developing a vaccine for Covid-19, five of which have already been tested in humans.

One is in Seattle, Washington, where the pharmaceutical company Moderna has started the first phase of a clinical trial in humans, using 45 healthy volunteers.

Elsewhere, a team from Oxford University in the UK started a trial with 500 volunteers in late April, while Pfizer partnered with a German company for a trial that started earlier this month with 200 other people. in the USA.

Typically, it takes about four years to create a vaccine, and then it goes through an approval process, which can take up to 18 months.

The last vaccine Tucker worked on was a pill-based flu shot, a joint project between Vaxart and Stanford University, which started in 2015 and finished testing in January.

A study published in the medical journal The Lancet showed that it was just as effective as a regular flu vaccine and that the development was praised by Fauci who described it as “encouraging” and “potentially important”.

Speaking to Fox News after the vaccine was announced, Fauci said, “The results of the challenge study are encouraging.

“It will be important to determine the performance of the vaccine against natural infections in the community.”

Tucker admits it's a gamble saying that none of the candidates may be the right one, but says the results of the animal tests have been promising. Tucker's rapid production of early IgG antibodies is a promising sign that not only does his candidate vaccine work, but it works quickly

Tucker admits it’s a gamble saying that none of the candidates may be the right one, but says the results of the animal tests have been promising. Tucker’s rapid production of early IgG antibodies is a promising sign that not only does his candidate vaccine work, but that it works quickly

Vaxart says the flu pill will go into production “very soon” and the doses will be available in the second half of 2020, assuming it passes an FDA review.

This time, things are different with Tucker and his team running tests simultaneously to speed up the process.

As with the H1N2 (or swine flu) epidemic in 2009, the hope is to formulate a vaccine as soon as possible. On this occasion, a jab was created and approved in just five months.

Tucker says the process is being speeded up by increased communication between scientists and a greater willingness to share information.

One of his regular calls is to Dr. Sarah Gilbert, the University of Oxford vaccinologist who heads the UK’s best-known vaccine trial, but says that so far the key The information was the release of Covid-19 DNA by Chinese scientists.

He said, “There is a lot more collaboration right now. When I talk to people on the phone, people share information.

“There is a lot more information before publication, so there is a lot more information and it’s great.

“Obviously, when Covid came out, the Chinese investigators shared the footage as soon as possible so that people could get started and start making vaccines and I think it was important. “

Vaccines are currently being tested in the lab for their workability and being tested simultaneously in mice - and Tucker says results have been promising so far

The vaccines are currently being tested in the lab for their workability and being tested simultaneously in mice – and Tucker says the results have been promising so far

Tucker added: “We started in late January. At that time, was everyone still like it was a real pandemic or not? In mid-February, we knew this thing was going to be a big problem, so we started to work very hard.

“As soon as we got the footage [for Covid-19], we called over the phone and ordered DNA to be published on our system and it arrived around mid-February.

Since then, the team has developed several candidate vaccines from previous research on coronaviruses to formulate hypotheses about the type of immune response that would best fight it.

Tucker admits it’s a gamble saying that none of the candidates may be the right one, but says the results of the animal tests have been promising.

He told DailyMail.com: “We get very good immune responses very early. We have publicly announced that we have a very strong IgG antibody response very early and this is unusual.

For Tucker, the rapid production of early IgG antibodies is a promising sign that not only does his candidate vaccine work, but that it works quickly.

He said, “We tried to understand all the different [candidate vaccines] we have to go ahead and find the one that works best.

“So far, everything looks good at first. I think the data suggests that we are going to have a very good solution. “

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