A Covid-19 Vaccine Without a Needle? These Firms Are On the Case

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The effort to vaccinate the world against Covid-19 relies on the syringe and needle, using a 19th-century technology to get 21st-century science into the arms of billions. Now the race is on to find alternatives.

Executives such as

David Hipkiss

sense an opportunity. His firm, Enesi Pharma Ltd. of Oxfordshire, England, is developing a device that painlessly implants a vaccine-imbued tube of sugars smaller than a grain of rice under the skin.

The pandemic has sparked a research-and-development gold rush in vaccines. Developers of novel vaccine-delivery technology hope that they are next, and that the drive to inoculate the planet will shower them with investment dollars and entice big-name partners with deep pockets who can help bring their products to market.

Theirs is a field littered with development misfires and costly gadgets that, for decades, failed to unseat the simple needle, syringe and glass vial. Aside from the occasional nasal spray for flu or sugar lump for polio, the hypodermic needle has been the mainstay of protecting against infectious disease since it was pioneered by a Dublin physician in 1844.

No More Needles

Developers of alternative ways to deliver vaccines use a variety of devices that exploit the body’s immune defenses.

When the patch is applied, microscopic needles infused or coated with vaccine penetrate the skin, causing damaged skin cells to signal the immune system to respond.

Nasal delivery mimics the way the virus typically enters the body and binds to cells. The vaccine uses a harmless viral shell to train the immune system to recognize the invader.

Respiratory

epithelial cells

Reformulating vaccines so they dissolve slowly under the tongue allows for self-administration and could be a promising alternative to the needle for children.

Another technology uses tiny implants pushed painlessly into the skin that release vaccine as they dissolve.

Respiratory

epithelial cells

When the patch is applied, microscopic needles infused or coated with vaccine penetrate the skin, causing damaged skin cells to signal the immune system to respond.

Nasal delivery mimics the way the virus typically enters the body and binds to cells. The vaccine uses a harmless viral shell to train the immune system to recognize the invader.

Reformulating vaccines so they dissolve slowly under the tongue allows for self-administration and could be a promising alternative to the needle for children.

Another technology uses tiny implants pushed painlessly into the skin that release vaccine as they dissolve.

Respiratory

epithelial cells

When the patch is applied, microscopic needles infused or coated with vaccine penetrate the skin, causing damaged skin cells to signal the immune system to respond.

Nasal delivery mimics the way the virus typically enters the body and binds to cells. The vaccine uses a harmless viral shell to train the immune system to recognize the invader.

Reformulating vaccines so they dissolve slowly under the tongue allows for self-administration and could be a promising alternative to the needle for children.

Another technology uses tiny implants pushed painlessly into the skin that release vaccine as they dissolve.

When the patch is applied, microscopic needles infused or coated with vaccine penetrate the skin, causing damaged skin cells to signal the immune system to respond.

Nasal delivery mimics the way the virus typically enters the body and binds to cells. The vaccine uses a harmless viral shell to train the immune system to recognize the invader.

Respiratory

epithelial cells

Another technology uses tiny implants pushed painlessly into the skin that release vaccine as they dissolve.

Reformulating vaccines so they dissolve slowly under the tongue allows for self-administration and could be a promising alternative to the needle for children.

Skeptics say that because needles are so inexpensive, abundant and effective, that isn’t likely to change. But the belief among delivery-technology executives and others in the vaccine world is that the pandemic has revealed to all what they have long seen as a false economy. Vaccinating millions isn’t a cheap and easy task when the existing technology requires freezing cold-chain logistics, an army of trained personnel…



Read More:A Covid-19 Vaccine Without a Needle? These Firms Are On the Case

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