March 20, 2020
With the threat of COVID-19 and the ever-present risk of infectious disease on the rise, researchers are prioritizing finding a more cost effective and accessible method of vaccinating the public. While the rates of vaccination have steadily increased over time, many low income or underdeveloped countries still suffer from the high cost and inaccessibility of life saving drugs. The World Health Organization reported that in 2018 alone, almost 20 million children did not receive critical vaccinations and sixty percent of these children were from typically low socio-economic populations.
Scientists at the University of Texas, Austin, have developed a method of drug delivery that doesn’t require needles or syringes. Rather this new vaccine contained in a thin strip of film that dissolves in the mouth. This approach would allow vaccination to become a less painful procedure than intramuscular injection, as well as decrease the amount of biohazardous waste such as syringes, packaging and sterilizing equipment needed per injection.
Development began in 2007 and now the research team aim to deliver the innovative application to market over the course of the next two years. If picked up commercially, this novel advance in immunization could help alleviate difficulties in storing and transporting vaccines as they do not need to be refrigerated and take up significantly less space than traditional vaccines. This would make this type of vaccine more attainable for populations and countries where drug storage is both arduous and expensive.
Source: Science Alert
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