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Fil-Am biologist-priest is currently developing a cheaper oral COVID-19 vaccine 'like yakult'

 Father Nicanor Austriaco, a Filipino-American molecular biologist vows to bring a more cheaper yeast-based oral COVID-19 vaccine that will be more accessible to Filipinos. 

Father Austriaco is a University of the Philippines (UP) - OCTA Research Fellow involved in pandemic management for the Philippines. He is also a Visiting Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and a Biology Professor at Rhode Island, USA's Providence College.

“The goal here is that if we are able to develop this oral vaccine, then we would make something like Yakult. You will just take the yeast and you would drink the yeast every day,” he said.

This bioengineered yeast should be able to induce immune system response against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by targeting its proteins.

If everything goes well, he added that this vaccine is easier to transport in developing nations, not like the other COVID-19 vaccines that needs a storage at a super cold temperatures.

"This is just a crazy idea but it’s worth trying. Otherwise we will wait for one or two years here in the country to vaccinate our entire population."


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