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Vaxart begins early-stage trial of oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate

(Reuters) - Vaxart Inc said on Tuesday it had begun an early-stage study testing its oral tablet COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which the drug developer hopes would be a viable alternative to injectable vaccines.

The trial will evaluate two doses of the vaccine candidate, VXA-CoV2-1, in up to 48 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 54 years.

VXA-CoV2-1 is a room temperature stable oral tablet unlike some rival vaccine candidates including the one by Moderna Inc, which requires exceptional cold storage. Moderna’s vacccine candidate is currently being tested in a large late-stage study.

“Our room temperature stable oral tablet vaccine has the potential to ease many of the problems associated with distribution and administration of cold chain dependent injectable vaccines and may make herd immunity more achievable by making it much easier to vaccinate more people faster,” Andrei Floroiu, chief executive officer of Vaxart said.

The company said it expects first data readout from the trial in a few weeks.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Vinay Dwivedi

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