Nanopatch – No needles no pain

Vaccination will soon to be revolutionised, all thanks of the ground-breaking invention of the Nanopatch.  Nanopatch has been developed by Professor Mark Kendall and his colleague from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. They created this needle and pain-free delivery of vaccination and won the Eureka award for excellence in Research by an Interdisciplinary Team in 2011.

Source: Courier mail

Nanopatch is much smaller than a postage stamp and is covered in thousands of projections invisible to the naked eye. These projections are coated with dried vaccine and can be easily applied to anyone.

The Nanopatch differs from the traditional needle and syringe method as it provides more benefits to people and overcomes barriers of the current delivery methods. These include:

1. Direct delivery to immune cells and smaller dosage

The vaccine is delivered via projections on the Nanopatch directly underneath the skin, where immune cells are abundant. In contrast, when using a needle and syringe, the vaccine is injected into the muscles, which contains much less immune cells. As a result, the vaccine dosage needed for the Nanopatch is approximately 100 times less than the traditional methods in order to achieve the same effect.

2. Refrigeration is unnecessary unlike the traditional method

The World Health Organisation estimated that the 50% failure in delivering vaccine in Africa was due to the breakdown of the cold chain in transporting and delivering traditional vaccines. As the vaccine is dry-coated onto the projections on the Nanopatch, refrigeration is unnecessary. This breakthrough means that transportation will become much easier and less costly. It is especially important for people in the developing countries, such as Africa, where many vaccines are necessary but difficult to obtain due to the challenges in transportation.

3. Economic

The production and transportation costs are much lower than needles and syringe since the dosage, size and other relevant costs can be reduced. As a result, health organisations and the governments are able to provide more vaccines to those who are in need.

4. No Needles no pain!

Application of vaccines without needles means good news to people and especially those with needle phobia. Most importantly, it could be much safer for both the administers and the receivers of the vaccines. Nanopatch can prevent complications in cross contamination and needle stick injuries, such as HIV, during and after delivering the vaccines.

Nanopatch provides great potential of vaccine delivery in the future. The current prototype has proven success in influenza, human papillomavirus (HPV) and even malaria in mice. The next step is human clinical trial, which is expected to take place in the near future. Other applications of Nanopatch include diagnosis and allergy desensitisations.

Prof Kendall is optimistic about the future of the Nanopatches, and hopes that one day they can be accessible via local chemists or even via mail. Perhaps, sometime in the future we can apply vaccines ourselves and will not need to wait for hours at the hospital or clinic just to get a flu shot!

Interview of Prof Mark Kendall on Nanopatches

2 Responses to “Nanopatch – No needles no pain”

  1. Ginger says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I was surprised that it actually came out last year. Personally I don’t mind about needles but I think the vaccine can be more target-focused on immune cells are much better.

    According to the websites in the links, nanopatches are cheaper to make because only small dosage is needed to achieve the effects they are even cheaper. Though, they have spent about 15 million AUD on this project already so it might take a while to get a positive return.

  2. Ryan Hodgman says:

    That’s amazing! Being able to receive vaccination patches by order in the mail would be brilliant, and increased accessibility due to changes in the supply chain is incredibly good news for people in third-world living conditions.

    Do you know if this method is more or less expensive than typical needle injections, what with increased manufacturing costs vs reduced vaccine requirements?