Israeli COVID-19 Vaccine Being Developed as Oral Booster

YERUSHALAYIM -
covid vaccine infection
(Lindsey Shuey/Republican-Herald via AP)

MigVax Ltd., an Israeli startup company developing an oral subunit vaccine against the coronavirus (COVID-19), announced Thursday promising results from preclinical tests that demonstrated the effectivity of its MigVax-101 subunit oral vaccine as a booster for previously vaccinated persons.

MigVax-101 is a novel oral subunit vaccine that utilizes a chimeric protein to generate three kinds of simultaneous immunological responses: mucosal, blood-based, and cell-mediated immunity. This triple-armed approach provides comprehensive protection against infection by activating all arms of the immune system, allowing for the effective eradication of the invading virus. Its epitopes were designed using computational chemistry of immunogenic epitopes in IBV, MERS, SARS-COV and SAS-COV-2, focusing on neutralizing antibodies and promoting an immune response.

In the trial, tests carried out on rats demonstrated that the MigVax-101 vaccine, when administered in a boost format following an injected S1 protein, elicited markedly higher neutralizing antibody titers than rats receiving an oral placebo booster. In addition, similar to a third booster injection, it elicited more effective neutralizing antibodies.

MigVax is seeking the financing necessary for it to launch Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials, which, if successful, it believes would lead to commercial availability 9-12 months after the trials begin.

As an oral vaccine, Mig-Vax-101 offers significant potential advantages over existing first-generation injected vaccines, including ease of administration, and its being uniquely positioned to tackle new variants through quick adaptability.

In addition, because the other components of the vaccine are comprised of a protein that is not prone to changes, the vaccine may remain effective for longer periods before requiring a booster.

Furthermore, MigVax-101 requires refrigeration, but not “deep freeze” conditions. This significantly reduces distribution and storage costs and logistics.

“The results of this trial increase our confidence that our MigVax-101 subunit oral vaccine will make a positive contribution to a world coming to grips with the new post-pandemic reality,” said Prof. Itamar Shalit, MigVax’s Infectious Disease Expert.

“Oral boosters such as our MigVax-101 will be key enablers that will help health organizations the world over to transition from ‘panic mode’ to routine, due to their ability to reduce the cost and expand the reach of ongoing vaccination programs,” he said.