Priest developing an oral COVID-19 vaccine

A priest who is also a member of the University of the Philippines- Research team hopes that the Philippine government would allow him to conduct a clinical trial on animals for an that is being developed.

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco is on his way to the United States where he conducts experiments on ‘yeast-based’ vaccines that can be swallowed.

The focus of their research is the use of ‘human probiotic yeast’ which they hope will create stronger immunity and protection against the virus.

It is said that the COVID-19 vaccine they are developing is for Filipinos and other 3rd world countries which is much cheaper compared to those created by big pharmaceutical companies, according to Fr. Austriaco, a molecular biologist.

By the time the study ends, Fr. Austriaco hopes that upon his return to the Philippines, he will be given permission to perform animal testing at the University of Sto. Tomas. If it is said to be effective for animals, they will ask the government for another permit for clinical trials for the oral COVID-19 vaccine.

Father Nicanor Robles Austriaco, Jr. OP is a Filipino-American molecular biologist and Catholic priest. He is a professor of biology and professor of theology at Providence College, in Providence, Rhode Island, and a research fellow at the Center for Theology, Religious Studies, and Ethics, at the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines.

COVID-19 vaccine priority list

Last week, Malacañang released the list of specific priority groups for the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program:

  • A1: Frontline workers in health facilities both national and local, private and public, health professionals and non-professionals like students, nursing aides, janitors, barangay , etc.
  • A2: Senior citizens aged 60 years old and above
  • A3: Persons with comorbidities not otherwise included in the preceding categories
  • A4: Frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases as essential during an enhanced community quarantine

  • A5: Indigent population not otherwise included in the preceding categories

  • B1: Teachers, social workers

  • B2: Other government workers

  • B3: Other essential workers

  • B4: Socio-demographic groups at significantly higher risk other than senior citizens and indigenous people

  • B5: Overseas Filipino Workers

  • B6: Other remaining workforce

  • C: Rest of the Filipino population not otherwise included in the above groups