What happened 

Shares of Vaxart (NASDAQ:VXRT) 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%.

So what

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.

A person is pointing to a digital stock chart that rises, then falls, then rises again.

Investors bid up Vaxart's share price on Tuesday. Image source: Getty Images.

"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.

Now what 

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.

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