Tianjin University has successfully developed an oral vaccine to protect against novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19). Huang Jinhai, the professor who led the project, has himself taken four doses and has not experienced any side effects. The university is now looking for partners to promote clinical trials and broad usage.
The oral vaccine uses food-grade saccharomyces cerevisiae as a carrier and the spike protein of the coronavirus as a target spot to produce antibodies to fight COVID-19, according to a statement Tianjin University sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.
Huang's team has produced samples of the oral vaccine in the form of capsules, milk tablets and granular formulations. They have also developed core technologies in recombinant strains construction, selection, protein expression and fermentation dynamics, which are critical to the vaccine's development, the statement noted.
Huang said the vaccine, taken orally, could stimulate local mucosal immunization to prevent infection. It could also serve as a potential therapy for infected patients to combat the coronavirus.
"The vaccine has a very high level of security, is convenient to use and can be quickly produced on a large scale," Huang was quoted as saying in the statement. His team has been building a biological prevention and formulation development platform based on food-grade saccharomyces cerevisiae for years.
In the next step, Huang's team is looking for qualified enterprises to work together on following evaluation procedures, so as to speed up clinical verification and expand the vaccine's usage.