Wouldn't it be good to have a way to deliver a vaccine and a booster shot all at once?
Small plastic cubes with a mighty kick! Kevin McHugh at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and colleagues have come up with a microscopic drug-carrying material that delivers multiple doses of a vaccine and booster shots at a preset amount of time (weeks, even months).
The best news? It all goes in just one injection!
This is amazing as "vaccines are notoriously unstable,” says McHugh, and don’t usually stay long inside the body.
So, they've filled silicon cube moulds with a polymer and filled it with vaccine before putting a lid. These, then, are sealed by heating lightly. And while the water can break down the polymer, this can be extended by altering its structure.
To test this, they've utilized five mice and gave each a single injection with different contents (all made to mimic human's vaccines) made to release at different times. Result showed that, as planned, the particles were released within 9, 20 and 41 days after the injection.
“This is a novel method for making microparticles,” says Moein Moghimi at Durham University, UK.
Researchers are even moving forward and created versions that can last up to 100 or 200 days until it releases the contents. The latest form, however, is still not small enough to be injected like normal vaccines (deep into the muscle) and can only be injected below the skin. Cutting the size in half could do it, says McHugh.
If successful, this can soon lead to the “omni-vaccines” that can be used to protect humans against a whole host of diseases in just one go, added McHugh.
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