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Vaxart’s Oral COVID-19 Vaccine Reflects Optimism; Shares Rise

Shares of Vaxart Inc. (VXRT) rose 8.74%, at the time of writing, in early trade on Friday. The stock price moved after a Duke University-led study published in bioRxiv revealed that the clinical-stage biotechnology company’s investigational oral tablet vaccine succeeded in reducing the airborne transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in an animal model.

A drawback of the currently approved injected COVID-19 vaccines is that airborne transmission occurs in people who have received them. Vaxart’s oral vaccine platform induces strong systemic and mucosal responses as reflected by the preclinical study.

Notably, the study used a hamster infection and aerosol transmission system to study the potential impact of oral vaccination on transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to uninfected individuals, the company said.

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Earlier this week, a global Phase II clinical trial of the oral tablet COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been commenced by Vaxart, which targets the SARS-CoV-2 viral spike (S) protein.

Vaxart CEO Andrei Floroiu said, “Vaxart previously published data from a human influenza challenge study that demonstrated our oral flu vaccine candidate inhibited shedding of viral RNA better than injectable vaccines. The data reported provides further evidence that our oral vaccine could offer both an easier, more attractive mode of administration and potentially superior protection against respiratory viruses.” (See Vaxart stock charts on TipRanks)

The stock has picked up a rating from one analyst in the past three months. Pleased with the FDA’s approval in August, Piper Sandler analyst Yasmeen Rahimi maintained a Buy rating with a price target of $18 (153.9% upside potential) on Vaxart.

Rahimi believes that IND clearance for the S-only COVID-19 vaccine candidate has provided an opportunity for the company to identify safe candidates for further clinical development.

On top of this, TipRanks data shows that financial blogger opinions are 81% Bullish on Vaxart, compared to a sector average of 71%.

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