No more needles? The Gates Foundation is funding patch vaccine technology


Written by Jennifer Rigby

LONDON (Reuters) – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $23.6 million to U.S.-based life sciences company Micron Biomedical to fund the first-ever mass production of its needle-free vaccine technology.

This technology works by delivering the vaccine via dissolvable fine needles that are attached to the skin on a patch-like device.

Global health experts have long argued that similar technology could be used to boost the uptake of life-saving vaccines.

They are easier to transport and administer than traditional injections, especially in low-income countries where reaching all children who need vaccines remains difficult. But increasing production was an obstacle.

A trial conducted in Gambia earlier this year showed that Micron’s device delivered the measles and rubella vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India, to adults, infants and young children as safely and effectively as syringes, and produced a similar immune response.

James Goodson, chief scientist in the division of immunization at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also partnered with Micron, said the technology “could help overcome some of the most significant barriers to eliminating measles and rubella nationwide.” the world”.

It does not require a cold chain for distribution or a trained professional to administer the vaccine, and it could also help those who have a fear of injections, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The funding will support the development of a manufacturing facility to help manufacture around 10 million devices per year for larger clinical trials and then for wider use, subject to approvals from regulatory authorities.

(Reporting by Jennifer Rigby; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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