Formulation V720 is the world's first and only flu vaccine in pill form. The vaccine is the same as what would be used in vaccinations, but the delivery method is a hard-shelled, multi-component capsule designed to move through the digestive system and release only when it reaches the small intestine. From there, the vaccine can be absorbed into the lymphatic system, which then generates an immune response.
The vaccine pill was developed by Medicine for a Better Tomorrow, a 10-member team attending an enrichment program at a university. Eighteen-year-old Grant Sparling is the president of the team. They decided to develop the new vaccine delivery system in response to the challenge to develop a product for the aging population of Canada. People age 65 and older are more susceptible to influenza, but as age increases, so does the fear of needles.
Patents and research are still pending, but almost a dozen doctors have confirmed that the science behind the idea is sound enough for research to be done.
Young people have a wonderful way of looking at common problems in a new way. The fact that they have fewer preconceptions about how something should be done, means that they can come up with deceptively simple but innovative solutions. I will be keeping an eye out for more news regarding a flu vaccine pill. Medical research is not a fast process—it is painstaking and thorough—but if the idea can be developed and approved for production, a vaccine pill would revolutionize immunization programs.