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What Are the Prospects for Vaxart's COVID Vaccine?

By Keith Speights and Brian Orelli, PhD - Updated Apr 1, 2021 at 8:12AM

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It's still really early.

When you think of COVID-19 vaccines, shots probably come to mind. However, a small biotech, Vaxart (VXRT 5.68%), is developing an oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on March 24, 2021, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss the prospects for Vaxart's experimental COVID vaccine.

Keith Speights: Any thoughts on Vaxart? The ticker there is VXRT. Brian, what's your take on Vaxart?

Brian Orelli: This is the oral company?

Speights: Yeah, it's a small biotech that has an early-stage oral tablet COVID vaccine in development.

Orelli: The problem here was it didn't create any noticeable antibodies. Created what, T-cells but not antibodies, if I remember correctly. So that concerns me because -- now I'm not an immunologist -- but it seems to me that you would need antibodies to be able to block the infection of the coronavirus quickly.

T-cells will do it eventually, but I'd rather have antibodies than T-cells. The T-cells advantage might be for memory I think, longer-term immunization that might be an advantage for Vaxart. The fact that they didn't create antibodies really concerns me.

Again, I'm not an immunologist. I think they're continuing to develop it. Maybe we'll take a wait and see. My view is to take a wait-and-see attitude with Vaxart. I'm not very interested in buying their shares right now, but I'm not going to short it either because I don't have enough knowledge on it to say this is definitely not going to work, there's no way. I will sit on the sidelines and wait.

Speights: Right. The proof is in the pudding. If they come out with clinical results that show that they can achieve high efficacy with this tablet vaccine, then the stock is going to absolutely skyrocket. But I think the jury is still out on what's going to happen with Vaxart.

Orelli: The other problem with Vaxart, is that as you go into Phase 3 really late after everybody has been immunized, now you have the problem of how do you get enough events in your clinical trial. So they probably have to test outside the U.S., and then if they're testing outside the U.S., is the FDA going to accept that clinical trial.

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