Nanopatch vaccine breakthrough by the University of Queensland
Needle-free technology developed by the University of Queensland has been used to successfully deliver an inactivated poliovirus vaccine. Clinical success and widespread use of the Nanopatch against polio could help in the current campaign to eradicate the disease. It could be produced and distributed at a cheaper cost than current vaccine delivery methods, and its ease of use would make it suitable for house-to-house vaccination efforts in endemic areas with only minimal training required.
Delivery of a polio vaccine with the Nanopatch was demonstrated by UQ’s Professor Mark Kendall and his research team at UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and vaccine technology company Vaxxas.
Professor Kendall explains the reasoning behind using the Nanopatch: "We compared the Nanopatch to the traditional needle and syringe, and found that there is about a 40-fold improvement in delivered dose-sparing. This means about 40 times less polio vaccine was needed in Nanopatch delivery to generate a functional immune response as the needle and syringe."
So far the vaccine has been only tested on rats, but the first human vaccination studies will begin later this year. The Nanopatch is being commercialised by Vaxxas Pty Ltd – a company that was set up by the University of Queensland.
Vaxxas CEO David Hoey said: "Key attributes of the Nanopatch, including its ease of use and potential to not require refrigeration, could improve the reach and efficiency of vaccination campaigns in difficult-to-reach locations, including those where polio remains endemic."
If you are interested in applying for a research degree at the University of Queensland or any other Australian university, it's useful to have some idea of their key research areas in order to help you find a suitable supervisor. More information about the University of Queensland can be found here, and there are some resources to help you find supervision here.