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The Nanopatch Delivers Vaccines without Needles – A Moonshot Project
Mark Kendall says that twenty percent of the population has needlephobia. Avoiding vaccines because a person is afraid of needles leads to disease and death. Further, 1.3million deaths a year take place due to needle contamination injuries.
In his TED Talk A needle-free vaccine patch that’s safer and way cheaper Kendall demonstrates his Nanopatch. He hopes that his patch will be a part of the solution that eradicates the 17million deaths that occur each year from infectious diseases.
The nanopatch is created through deep reactive ion etching. The process has been in place for years in the semiconductor industry, keeping the cost for production low. Kendall and his team have also created an applicator to place the Nanopatch into the skin. The projections placed on the patch break the outer layer of skin and the vaccines inside the patch release in less than a minute.
Vaccine technology is improving, Mark says, but many times you don’t know if a vaccine will work until you roll up your sleeves and put the vaccine into a body. Animal testing showed that Nanopatch delivery outperforms needle delivery.
An interesting discovery from the testing was the Dosage vs. Response curve, totally different in Nanopatch vaccine delivery. Developers can now more easily dictate how much of a vaccine is given to a subject to create a higher or lower level of response.
Kendall’s white whales are what he calls the big three – HIV, malaria and tuberculosis aren’t sufficiently vaccinated currently and are responsible for 7million deaths per year. He hopes that using the new curve for dosage and response that he can help the medical world to combat these big three killers.
The cold chain is another huge challenge that Mark is trying to meet. Vaccines need to be chilled throughout their life cycle. The World Health Organization estimates that up to half the vaccines in Africa do not perform at their maximum because at some point in the process their cold chain requirements were not met.
Nanopatches deliver the vaccines dry so that the patches can be stored at 23 degree Celsius for a year with no loss of function. Testing is currently being done in Papua New Guinea to combat the HPV virus.