Filipino priest-scientist developing oral vaccine for COVID-19, new variants

by Jet Hitosis
Apr 2, 2021
Nicanor Austriaco oral COVID-19 vaccine
Dominican priest-molecular biologist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco (left) is a fellow of the University of the Philippines's OCTA Research Group and a biology and theology professor at Providence College in Rhode Island, United States of America.
PHOTO/S: news.providence.edu, unsplash.com

Isang Filipino-American priest na molecular biologist ang gumagawa ng oral vaccine na panlaban sa COVID-19 at sa mga bago at mas nakakahawang variants nito.

Yeast-based ang oral vaccine na dine-develop ni Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, fellow ng OCTA Research Group ng University of the Philippines (UP) at propesor ng biology at theology sa Providence College sa Rhode Island sa Amerika.

“We are developing two vaccines now—one for the original virus and we have some for the variants as well,” sinabi ni Fr. Austriaco sa panayam sa kanya ng GMA News nitong Lunes, March 29, 2021.

Isang scientist at yeast expert sa nakalipas na 25 taon, sinabi ni Fr. Austriaco na ang anti-COVID-19 pill ay gagawa ng spike protein na lilikha ng immune response laban sa SARS-COV-2, ang virus na dahilan ng COVID-19.

YEAST-BASED ORAL COVID-19 VACCINE

Isang pangkaraniwang probiotic yeast na tinatawag na Saccharomyces boulardii ang ginamit ni Fr. Austriaco sa ginagawa niyang oral vaccine.

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“We genetically engineered this yeast so it will produce the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 in your body,” ani Fr. Austriaco.

Aminado si Fr. Austriaco na hindi maibibigay ng kanyang oral vaccine ang 100 percent immunity na maipagkakaloob ng itinuturok ngayong COVID-19 vaccines.

Gayunman, makasisiguro raw na hindi maoospital o mamamatay sa COVID-19 ang gagamit ng kanyang yeast-based oral vaccine.

“I do not expect that an oral vaccine like this is going to have efficacies as high as mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, but my hope is, it is high enough that it will allow a Filipino not to go to a hospital if he gets sick.

“I don't want you to get sick, go to hospital, and then die,” anang Dominican priest-scientist.

A BOOSTER FOR VACCINE JABS

Target daw ng oral vaccine ni Fr. Austriaco na lumikha ng bakunang may efficacy rate na 80-85% upang ang epekto ng COVID-19 sa recipient ay maikukumpara na lamang sa simpleng sipon o trangkaso.

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Pagbabalita pa ni Fr. Austriaco, idinisenyo ang kanyang oral vaccine upang palakasin pa ang efficacy ng itinuturok na COVID-19 vaccine.

“I'm imagining this vaccine as a second line booster vaccine. You have injected AstraZeneca or Sinovac, but now we give you this oral vaccine to keep it up,” paliwanag ni Fr. Austriaco.

Katuwang ni Fr. Austriaco ang Providence College sa pagde-develop niya ng oral vaccine kontra COVID-19.

A PILL THAT CAN BE ADDED TO A DRINK

Kasabay nito, tiniyak din ni Fr. Austriaco na abot-kaya, hindi maselan ang pag-iimbak at pagbibiyahe, at napakadaling gamitin ng ginagawa niyang oral vaccine.

Isa raw kasi itong pill na maaaring ihalo sa tubig, gatas, beer o wine.

At dahil gawa ito sa yeast, hindi na kailangan pang naka-refrigerate ang gamot.

“Yeast is a living organism and lives in room temperature,” ani Fr. Austriaco.

At dahil ikokonsumo ito na parang simpleng medicine pill lamang, hindi na kailangan pa ng tulong ng sinumang healthcare professional sa paggamit nito.

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Dahil dito, ayon kay Fr. Austriaco, maaari itong ibiyahe at gamitin kahit na sa pinakamalalayong lalawigan at isla sa bansa.

“You don't need a doctor, you don't need a nurse, you don't need an injector, you don't need a refrigerator.

“For our country, with more than 7,000 islands, millions of Filipinos in the bundok, how will you deliver the vaccine to them?

“This yeast delivery system is very stable. You can put it to a box and you can carry it with you, take it on the boat, take it on the Babuyan islands without refrigerators,” paliwanag pa ng priest-scientist.

MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTION IN THE PHILIPPINES

Ayon kay Fr. Austriaco, sa pagbabalik niya sa Pilipinas ay plano niyang gawin sa University of Santo Tomas (UST) sa Maynila ang mga tests para sa kanyang yeast-based oral vaccine.

Sa tantiya ni Fr. Austriaco, kapag nakumpleto na sa December 2021 ang mga clinical trials sa oral vaccine, paplanuhin naman ang paggawa at pamamahagi nito.

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“Earliest is maybe by Christmas, maybe we have studies from people, and if it works, I have to find someone to manufacture in the Philippines, and we have to figure out how to distribute it,” sinabi ni Fr. Austriaco.

Milyun-milyong vaccine doses na ang binili ng gobyerno para sa target na herd immunity ng mga Pilipino laban sa COVID-19.

March 1, 2021 nang simulan ang opisyal na pagbabakuna sa bansa kontra COVID-19.

Sa kasalukuyan, nasa 130,245 ang ginagamot sa pagpopositibo sa virus.

Lumobo na sa 747,288 ang total confirmed cases sa Pilipinas sa ngayon, at 13,297 sa bilang na ito ang binawian ng buhay.

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Dominican priest-molecular biologist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco (left) is a fellow of the University of the Philippines's OCTA Research Group and a biology and theology professor at Providence College in Rhode Island, United States of America.
PHOTO/S: news.providence.edu, unsplash.com
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