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November 24, 2020 Tuesday 03:45:18 PM IST

Sydney to undertake clinical studies of needle-free vaccine patch

Technology Inceptions

University of Sydney researchers have been awarded $1.12 million in funding via the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC) to undertake independent clinical research studies to understand the potential of needle-free vaccine delivery for at-risk groups. This grant reflects matched funding from Commonwealth Government funded IMCRC and Vaxxas, an Australian biotechnology company.  The two upcoming clinical studies are designed to evaluate the safety, feasibility, acceptability and usability of self-administration of Vaxxas’ vaccine delivery technology using an inactive substance. They will focus on older adults and healthcare professionals who are more likely to be impacted by pandemic influenza and SARS-COV-2.

Lead researcher Professor Rachel Skinner from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health and Kids Research in the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network said the device presents potential advantages compared to vaccination using a needle and syringe.

The device is a one square-centimetre of biocompatible polymer, smaller than a postage stamp, covered in thousands of micro-projections which are invisible to the naked eye. These are coated with a vaccine formulation, with the goal of penetrating the protective outer layer of the skin to deliver the vaccine to cell layers immediately under the skin, rich in immune cells. The device is applied to the skin using a disposable applicator that contains the product. The vaccine technology is still under development and has not yet been approved for use.

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