In an effort to overcome the challenges of administering vaccines in developing countries, including the need for refrigeration and the cost of supplies, scientists at King’s College London have developed a technique for delivering dried live vaccines without the use of a hypodermic. A paper (subscription required) describing their work was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
During this brief video, King's researcher Linda Klavinskis, PhD, describes how she and colleagues used a silicone mold to create a microneedle array, a tiny disc with several microneedles composed of sucrose that dissolves into the skin. The team tested the effectiveness of the vaccines in mice and found that the immune response generated by the dried microneedle version was equivalent to liquid vaccines delivered with a hypodermic needle.
Although still in the early stages, the work has the potential to boost vaccination rates of diseases such as HIV and malaria as well as other infectious diseases.