New technology could revolutionise traditional vaccines

By Catherine Sturman
They say the best things come in small sizes, and the healthcare industry is one such area in which this saying comes into play. The traditional ways i...

They say the best things come in small sizes, and the healthcare industry is one such area in which this saying comes into play.

The traditional ways in which vaccines are given has been transformed by US researchers, who have now developed a way in which the need for multiple injections could become eradicated through a new, innovative technique.

In the medical journal Science, the researchers have stated that the vaccines are placed within micro-particles, made of biodegradable polymers. With the ability to disintegrate at different times, a number of vaccines situated with these polymers can be given to a patient at the same time, through one singular jab.

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The technique has proven effective in recent studies using mice. The development will support not only developing countries, but will enable parents to give children the required immunisations in one dose, creating significant advantages.

“One of the main limitations there is access to vaccines and the fact that you have to come back several times in order to get immunity from the pathogen,” said Ana Jaklenec, co-author of the research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “A child or a baby is usually seen once, sometime around the birth time by some sort of healthcare worker.”

“What’s novel here is that the sharpness of how quickly the drug releases from the particle and the fact there is no leakage at all from the particle until [then],” said Jaklenec.

However, in terms of distributing the vaccine, the researchers will have to counteract hot climates, as vaccines are typically stored in refrigerators to ensure the vaccines remain stable. However, long-term developments look positive.

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