An Australian scientist plans to begin testing the feasibility of edible vaccines in an effort to replace the syringe with a spoon, the Australian Associated Press reports.
Dr. Barry Marshall, an Australian scientist who won a Nobel Prize for discovering the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers, is working on a way to use those same bugs (Helicobacter pylori) to create vaccines that can be ingested.
If successful, getting an annual flu shot could be as easy as downing a spoonful of yogurt, the report said.
Marshall must first find a way to side-step a basic principal of the human body — that the immune system does not normally react to food.
"Previously, people have looked at delivering vaccines on lactobacillus in yogurts, for example, but most of these products just look like food to the immune system and they are ignored," Marshall told AAP. "The new idea (is to use) the helicobacter, which infects your stomach temporarily.
"In the few days that it is sitting there, it could be producing the vaccine, liberating it in the wall of your stomach where it is sensed by the immune system," he added
The trial, which will involve 36 "healthy" volunteers, will begin in January and continue for a year. It will study which strains of bacteria have the most benign effect on gut.