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Oral Spray Could Deliver Vaccines Needle-Free

3/13/17 8:50 AM

Courtesy: UC Berkeley/Stephen McNally

Hate needles or the strict regime you must follow while taking antibiotic pills? There is a possible solution in the works that will ease the anxiety of going to the doctors. Researchers say they have come up with a painless alternative to administering vaccines by using a high-pressure spray delivered directly onto the inside of the cheek, where it is absorbed.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkley, devised a gel pill called the MucoJet that sprays the vaccine out of one end of the capsule into the cheek. The MucoJet triggers a mucosal immune response that neither oral nor injected vaccines can produce and can be used to thwart infection that enter the body through the mouth, nose, or genitals. As for the delivery technique, the team envisions it like a person holding a lollipop against their cheek to ensure the dosage penetrates into the buccal tissue cells.

The capsule is comprised of an outer compartment filled with five drops of water, and an interior compartment that holds two reservoirs separated by a membrane. Inside one reservoir contains the vaccine used for testing, which in this case is ovalbumin, a main protein found in egg whites. In the other reservoir, a powdered citric acid and sodium bicarbonate.

To activate the vaccine, the two compartment simply clicks together, mixing the water together with the citric acid and sodium bicarbonate to create carbon dioxide. One minute after clicking the compartments together, the bubbly gas builds up and propels a piston into the chamber holding the vaccine, which then releases the spray out a nozzle on one end of the capsule.

Testing on pig tissue and live rabbits was shown to have delivered seven times more ovalbumin, triggering an antibody response to ovalbumin that was three times higher than receiving the dose by a dropper. Despite the optimistic results, Jiri Mestecky, a mucosal immunologist based at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, isn't sold that the vaccine method will work on humans.

First, Mestecky says the buccal tissue in rabbits differs from humans in that people have fewer immune cells that can be trained by the vaccine. Mestecky also points out that unlike injections, each person may absorb a buccal spray differently, making it difficult to deliver a uniform dose. In response, researchers say they hope to soon begin testing on monkeys or another species that more closely resemble humans.

In order to assure the accuracy and safety of vaccines, it's vital they are kept in the correct conditions and at the proper temperatures. MadgeTech offers a data logging system specifically designed to ensure compliance with CDC guidelines for the storage and monitoring of vaccines. To learn more about MadgeTech's Vaccine Temperature Monitoring System, click here.

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