Currently COVID-19 vaccines are administered with a jab. A doctor, nurse or someone else who is qualified takes a syringe with a needle and quickly injects the vaccine into your shoulder. It is a simple and effective method.
However, scientists at the University of Queensland have now shown that at least mice can be protected by a needle-free vaccine developed at the University of Texas.
Some people really hate needles. They might be happy to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but are not too excited about getting the jab. In fact, some people have such a strong fear of needles that they cannot even think about getting the shot. Furthermore, injectio is a medical procedure (albeit, a simple one), which requires an appropriate education and preparation. Hexapro vaccine, developed at the University of Texas, is simply much more user friendly.
Hexapro vaccine is administered via a special applicator HD-MAP. It is essentially a pen-like device, which works painlessly. It applies a patch, which has 5000 microscopic projections. It causes no pain – it is almost imperceptible. Furthermore, the vaccine itself is very easy to store and transport, because the patch remains stable for at least 30 days at 25 degrees Celsius and one week at 40 degrees. But, of course, ease of use, comfort for people with a fear of needles and quick administration are not only advantages of the Hexapro vaccine.
Scientists in Australia have performed initial tests with animals and found the Hexapro vaccine to cause a strong immune response that was shown to be effective when the mice were exposed to SARS-CoV-2. A single dose is enough to launch strong immune defences against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
David L. Hoey, resident and CEO of Vaxxas, company that commercialised the high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP), said: “These results are extremely clear – vaccination by HD-MAP produces much stronger and more protective immune responses against COVID-19 in model systems than via needle or syringe”.
Of course, additional studies will be needed. It will be quite some time till we can just go into a pharmacy and buy a self-administered vaccine. However, this technology is not going to disappear with the COVID-19 pandemic. We will still have these patch-vaccines for the future.
One painless dose, no needles, easy transportation, quick and strong immune response – this vaccine has it all. However, you should contain your excitement, because these are only the beginning stages of the research. While initial tests are promising, optimism should be limited, because science does not always follow enthusiasm.
Source: University of Queensland