Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, a Filipino-American priest of the Dominican Order, is developing a COVID-19 vaccine using bio-engineered yeast that, should it pass clinical trials and be proven effective, will only cost Php35 a pill.
Based on human probiotic yeast that’s commonly used for baking bread, Fr. Austriaco’s vaccine is being designed to lessen the severity of the coronavirus disease—both the original and newer variants—as if it were the common cold. It works by making the yeast produce a harmless spike protein that will stimulate an immune response.
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While in its current state of development the vaccine does not have an efficacy rate that’s comparable to mRNA vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna, the yeast-based vaccine will still drastically reduce the chances of hospitalization and death.
No other vaccines, whether approved or also in development, use this yeast-based method. Should studies by year-end show positive results, plans on mass-manufacturing and distribution will start.
Fr. Austriaco earned a PhD in Biology from MIT. He is currently a professor at Providence College in the US, while also a research fellow at the University of Santo Tomas.
Source: GMA News