Researchers at the University of Nuremberg (FAU) have found a Covid-19 vaccine that contains bacteria from volcanic areas. Thanks to these micro-organisms, this vaccine does not need to be injected, but can be swallowed. This reports the FAU in a press release

Tetraether lipids

The bacteria, which have a membrane called tetraether lipids (TEL), come from inhospitable volcanic areas. This makes them resistant to high temperatures and strong acids. The latter property in particular is important because such a vaccine must pass through the stomach. 

Dagmar Fischer, head of the TEL DrugDelivery project, explains that the stomach is one of the most extreme places in the body of humans and animals. “Not only is the stomach very acidic, it is also teeming with enzymes that break down our food. This leaves only the ingredients. This is a process that a vaccine pill must be able to withstand exactly,” says Fischer. 

Advantages oral vaccination

Oral vaccination has many advantages. One of the biggest advantages is storage at normal temperature. This is primarily a logistical advantage, as far fewer freezers are needed and transportation to warm and remote areas is easier. It also offers many environmental benefits, as freezers and refrigerated transport are highly polluting. 

In addition, oral vaccination offers many advantages for people with needlestick anxiety. As a result, more people would be willing to get vaccinated. Finally, less time-consuming injections are needed. Those injections are not only time-consuming, but a lot of time is indirectly lost due to staff training. 

The team that developed the drug platform hopes to administer more vaccines using this method by the end of the project. Fischer says, “Hopefully, mRNA vaccines have a great future. If our platform works for the Covid 19 mRNA vaccine, it could be suitable for other applications as well.”

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