DETROIT – It’s been a tough few months for those who are afraid of needles.
While many have been able to get vaccinated, there are some who haven’t. But what if the vaccine was available without a needle?
Imagine going to get vaccinated, but instead of a health care working injecting you with a needle, you’re able to place a patch on your own skin. With a simple click from a handheld applicator, the wearer would be protected against coronavirus.
Most people don’t like needles and a needleless vaccine sounds better. That’s why researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia and a company called Vaxxas are testing a new vaccine patch. It’s a tiny device covered in thousands of micro-applicators to deliver protection through the skin.
“Basically, they are coated with our second generation stabilized spike protein,” said Dr. Jason McLellan, associate professor of molecular biosciences.
It’s an extension of the breakthrough technology developed by McLellan and his team at the University of Texas in 2020. Their stabilized spike protein still serves as the basis for all three vaccines authorized for distribution in the United States.
Early research shows the patch can be kept at nearly room temperature for about a month, which would open up more distribution opportunities.
While it’s not a reality yet, it’s an idea that could stick.
Testing is still in the early stages in mice, but researchers at the University of Queensland said they’ve seen strong immune responses so far. It’s something that would be appealing for many other vaccines as well.