A newly published study in the journal Matter describes the RNA pill.
A research team from MIT has developed a capsule containing RNA to administer vaccines, hoping to bypass the need for injections such vaccines usually require. They were able to deliver up to 150 micrograms of RNA into the stomach of pigs, an amount greater than the 30 to 100 micrograms of mRNA found in COVID-19 vaccines.
"Nucleic acids, in particular RNA, can be extremely sensitive to degradation particularly in the digestive tract. Overcoming this challenge opens up multiple approaches to therapy, including potential vaccination through the oral route," says Giovanni Traverso, the Karl van Tassel Career Development Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT and a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
The capsule has been used previously to deliver solid drugs like insulin and liquid monoclonal antibodies into the stomach lining. To administer the nucleic acids found in RNA and DNA, the researchers paired them with protective nanoparticles and detected successful uptake of the RNA into the stomach cells.
"When you have systemic delivery through intravenous injection or subcutaneous injection, it's not very easy to target the stomach. We see this as a potential way to treat different diseases that are present in the gastrointestinal tract," said Alex Abramson Ph.D.
You can read more from the study here.
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