Boston: Scientists have developed a three-dimensional (3D) printed vaccine patch that is not just less painful and less invasive than a traditional vaccine, but also provides greater protection than a typical immunisation shot. A team at Stanford University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) in the US applied the vaccine patch directly to animal skin in their tests. The resulting immune response from the patch was 10 times greater than a vaccine injected into the arm muscle with a needle, according to the study, published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The technique uses 3D-printed micro needles lined up on a polymer patch that are barely long enough to reach the skin to deliver vaccine.
In developing this technology, we hope to set the foundation for even more rapid global development of vaccines, at lower doses, in a pain- and anxiety-free manner, said lead study author Joseph M DeSimone, professor at Stanford University.
The ease and effectiveness of the new vaccine may lead to a novel way of delivering vaccines that is painless, less invasive, and can be self-administered.
Study results show the vaccine patch generated a significant T-cell and antigen-specific antibody response that was far greater than an injection delivered under the skin.
This increased immune response could economise vaccines doses, as a microneedle vaccine patch uses a smaller dose to generate a similar immune response to a vaccine delivered with a needle, the researchers said.
Our approach allows us to directly 3D print the microneedles, which gives us lots of design latitude for making the best microneedles from a performance and cost point-of-view, said lead study author Shaomin Tian, researcher at the UNC School of Medicine.
The study overcomes some past challenges – through 3D printing, the microneedles can be easily customised to develop various vaccine patches for the flu, measles, hepatitis or COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of the difference made with timely vaccination. However, getting a vaccine typically requires a visit to a clinic or hospital.
The researchers reiterated that there are currently issues that can hinder mass vaccination – from cold storage of vaccines to needing trained professionals who can give the shots.
The vaccine patches however, able to incorporate vaccine-coated microneedles that dissolve into the skin, could be shipped anywhere in the world without special handling, and people can apply the patch themselves, they said. The ease of using a vaccine patch may also lead to higher vaccination rates, according to the researchers. The team is now formulating RNA vaccines, like the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, into microneedle patches for future testing.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.