•  Flu has caused 9-45 million illnesses, 810,000 hospitalizations and 61,000 deaths since 2010
  • Less than half of Americans get the flu shots
  • New oral vaccine pill found promising in preventing flu

Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) reported influenza has caused 9-45 million illnesses, more than 810,000 hospitalizations and several thousand deaths in the last decade. The fact that 74% of those who died from influenza had not been vaccinated suggests that influenza vaccine can save all the mishaps caused by the virus including deaths, hospitalizations, and illnesses.

A San Francisco-based biotechnology company manufactured an oral flu vaccine, which can be as effective as the flu shot at preventing the disease and providing immunity against a particular strain.

“The availability of an oral flu vaccine would be a major breakthrough, not only because of the obvious comfort of avoiding a needle prick but because an oral tablet vaccine would be easier and faster to distribute and administer than an injectable vaccine, which could have a major impact on improving global vaccination rates,” the study’s senior author David R. Mcllwain told Fox News.

The study

A total of 179 individuals, in the 18-49 age group, were randomly assigned to receive the injectable vaccine, oral pill vaccine or a placebo. They were exposed to Influenza A/H1N1 strain from Dec. 2016 and Apr. 2017. The findings revealed that the oral tablet VXA-A1.1 manufactured by Vaxart Inc. outperformed the flu shot by offering higher protection against flu.

The researchers opined that the pill versions of the vaccine are not only cheaper but also faster to manufacture. This new form of vaccine can become more accessible in developing countries but it might take more time for this to happen. The results also suggested that a single dose of the oral vaccine tablet is enough to provide immunity against H1 influenza infection.

Although the results are encouraging, the oral flu vaccine might take at least five years to hit the markets. They are, currently, performing research in animal models to design a universal flu vaccine pill. Having such a pill vaccine could help prevent flu nationwide.

The oral vaccine pill could eliminate the fear of needles

Fifty percent of parents of toddlers and preschoolers said, in a recent study, that their kids are afraid of visiting doctors because of the fear of shots. Also, the CDC reported that about 40% of youngsters under the age of 17 did not receive their annual flu shot.

Oral vaccine pill dertrick, Pixabay