Shares of Vaxart (VXRT -1.97%) climbed on Tuesday after the biotech released promising data from a clinical trial of its oral coronavirus vaccine candidate. As of 3:30 p.m. EDT, Vaxart's stock price was up more than 12%.
A phase 1 study showed Vaxart's vaccine to potentially be protective against COVID-19, as well as a broad array of other coronavirus-induced illnesses, such as SARS, MERS, and the common cold.
"Our vaccine's immune response appears very different than that seen from the leading injectables: mucosal antibodies rather than serum antibodies, and more potent T-cell responses," Vaxart CEO Andrei Floroiu said in a press release.
T-cells are a type of white blood cells that can seek out and kill virus-infected cells. They are a vital part of the body's ability to generate an adaptive immune response to specific pathogens. Vaxart's drug produced a stronger T-cell response than Pfizer and Moderna's injectable vaccines, according to Vaxart's chief scientific officer, Dr. Sean Tucker.
Should Vaxart's vaccine candidate prove to be safe and effective in later-stage clinical trials, it could become a welcomed new tool in the battle against COVID-19. In such a scenario, the drug would also provide Vaxart with a powerful new revenue and profit driver.