SAN FRANCISCO – In a phase II study, Vaxart’s oral flu vaccine was compared with a commercial injectable quadrivalent flu vaccine or placebo. The study found rates of illness were comparable between the oral vaccine and quadrivalent vaccinated groups.*
The recombinant adenovirus-based vaccine expresses hemagglutinin. It elicited a mucosal immune response, hinting that the mechanism of protection in flu vaccines may be dependent on the route of administration. It is also believed that a strong mucosal response is key to preventing future infections.
In an interview at IDWeek 2018, an annual scientific meeting on infectious diseases, Nikita Kolhatkar, PhD, a salaried employee of Vaxart, which makes the drug, describes the results of the studyand explains the potential advantages of an oral flu vaccine versus a traditional injectable one. The oral formulation is cell-based and so is not vulnerable to the mutation and genetic drift that can occur in egg-based vaccines.
It is also more stable and, of course, less invasive than injectable vaccines, according to Dr. Kolhatkar.
*Correction, 10/9/2018: An earlier vs. of this article did not stress the comparability.
SOURCE: Kolhatkar N. IDWeek 2018. Poster abstract 1947.