Scientists create patch for vaccine delivery

Scientists at the University of Queensland have developed a patch the size of a postage stamp that they claim can be used in delivering cheap, needle-free vaccines with much smaller doses while achieving the same results of a traditional needle.

Delivery of a vaccine by the "Nanopatch," as the product is called, induces a similar protective immune response as a vaccine delivered by a needle and syringe while using 100 times less vaccine, the University of Queensland study says.

"The Nanopatch targeted specific antigen presenting cells found in a narrow layer just beneath the skin surface and as a result we used less than one hundredth of dose used by a needle while stimulating a comparable immune response," Professor Mark Kendall, the lead scientist on the study, told The Times of India. "Our result is ten times better than the best results achieved by other delivery methods and does not require the use of other immune stimulants, called adjuvants, or multiple vaccinations."

The patch could be used in developing countries with little access to clean needles and scarce refrigeration resources, the scientists said.

"Because the Nanopatch requires neither a trained practitioner to administer it nor refrigeration, it has enormous potential cheaply deliver vaccines in developing nations," Kendall said.