Trials for COVID vaccine pill to begin in South Africa

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South Africa has approved a clinical trial for a COVID vaccine pill, Israeli pharmaceutical company Oramed said on Friday.

Its majority-owned subsidiary Oravax Medical has received clearance to begin enrolling patients in the trial of an oral vaccine, the company said in a statement.

South Africa has hosted several COVID vaccine trials. This will be the first for an oral approach.

Oral vaccines are particularly attractive for the because they reduce the logistical burden of immunisation campaigns, the company said.

But they could also increase uptake in where needle aversion is an often missed factor in hesitancy.

"They do not require a medical professional to administer," the company said in a statement. "They are more desirable to the potential recipients because they do not involve injections."

A vaccine pill could become especially attractive if ongoing boosters are required.

The World Health Organization also on Thursday warned that Africa's vaccination efforts risked being paralysed by a severe shortage of syringes needed to administer jabs.

© 2021 AFP

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