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Vaxart’s Oral COVID-19 Vaccine Selected for US Operation Warp Speed Program

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 29 Jun 2020
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Vaxart, Inc.’s (South San Francisco, CA, USA) oral COVID-19 vaccine has been selected to participate in a non-human primate (NHP) challenge study, organized and funded by Operation Warp Speed, a new national program aiming to provide substantial quantities of safe, effective vaccine for Americans by January 2021.

The Trump administration is reportedly bringing biotech, pharma and federal agencies together in a project dubbed Operation Warp Speed that aims to cut the COVID-19 vaccine’s development time and deliver 100 million doses in the US by the end of the year. Vaxart’s study is designed to demonstrate the efficacy of its oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Vaxart develops oral tablet vaccines designed to generate mucosal and systemic immune responses that protect against a wide range of infectious diseases and has the potential to provide sterilizing immunity for diseases such as COVID-19. Vaxart believes that a room temperature stable tablet vaccine is easier to distribute, store and administer than injectable vaccines and may provide significantly faster response to a pandemic than injectable vaccines, enabling a greater portion of the population to be protected. Vaxart’s development programs include oral tablet vaccines that are designed to protect against coronavirus, norovirus, seasonal influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), as well as a therapeutic vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV).

“We are very pleased to be one of the few companies selected by Operation Warp Speed, and that ours is the only oral vaccine being evaluated. SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is primarily transmitted by viral particles that enter through the mucosa - nose, mouth or eyes - strongly suggesting that mucosal immunity could serve as the first line of defense,” said Andrei Floroiu, Chief Executive Officer of Vaxart Inc. “In addition, our vaccine is a room temperature-stable tablet, an enormous logistical advantage in large vaccination campaigns.”

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