During the COVID-19 pandemic, “cold-chain” distribution – the expensive ultra-cold freezers required to transport and store first-generation mRNA vaccines – presented a huge barrier to the rapid international distribution of vaccines, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere.
That is because much of the world does not possess the infrastructure or human resources to fight off a pandemic using vaccines that need super-cold refrigeration. In some places, precious supplies of free vaccines were wasted or destroyed because governments did not have the capacity to distribute them quickly enough. To this day, vaccination rates for many countries in the Southern Hemisphere are significantly lower than in the developed world, contributing to global vaccine inequity.
The pill vaccine that we are developing would offer a practical way to remedy this inequity by providing a vaccine that would be room temperature-stable and could be shipped by mail, courier — or even by Amazon. It would not require freezers, needles, or trained staff.
All that would be required is a pill and a glass of water.