Professor Mark Kendall of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and his team have been investigating a novel way to deliver vaccines.
Their method makes use of nanopatches, which are fingernail-sized dermal patches with microscopic projections on their surface that hand vaccine off directly to the antigen-presenting cells just below the surface of the skin.
The scientists’ recent work in mice has shown that an immune response equivalent to that achievable by needle and syringe can be reached using 100 times less vaccine. Not only does the nanopatch appear to be a more effective delivery method, it’s also cheaper to produce and doesn’t require refrigeration, adjuvants or multiple doses.
Professor Kendall said the Nanopatch was much smaller than a postage stamp and comprised of several thousands of densely-packed projections invisible to the human eye.
The influenza vaccine was dry coated onto these projections and applied to the skin of mice for two minutes.
“By using far less vaccine, we believe that the Nanopatch will enable the vaccination of many more people,” Professor Kendall said.
When compared to a needle and syringe, a nanopatch is cheap to produce and it’s easy to imagine a situation in which a government might provide vaccinations for a pandemic such as swine flu to be collected from a chemist or sent in the mail.
Press release from the University of Queensland: Less is more! Nanopatch is 100 times better than needle and syringe…
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*