Covid-19: Researchers secure £230,000 grant to develop world’s first smart vaccine device

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 07, 2021

The team will use microneedles to create a ‘smart-patch’

Researchers at Swansea University have been granted £2,30,000 to develop the world’s first smart vaccine device that will both deliver the Covid-19 vaccine and measure its efficacy through monitoring the body’s associated response.

The research, from the Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT), is to be funded by the Welsh Government Sêr Cymru funding programme.

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The team will use microneedles to create a ‘smart-patch’. This device will simultaneously measure a patient’s inflammatory response to the vaccination by monitoring biomarkers in the skin.

Safe and effective

According to the report published in the journal News Medical and Life Sciences, microneedles provide a safe and effective method to deliver vaccines with added attributes of requiring lower vaccine doses, permitting low-cost manufacturing. A microneedle delivery patch is easy to apply and minimally invasive.

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The researchers believe that their device would help enable a personalised vaccination approach.

Dr Sanjiv Sharma, Project Lead, Swansea University, said in a statement: “Measuring vaccine efficacy is extremely important as it indicates the protective effects of vaccination on an individual via the level of reduction of infection risk in a vaccinated person relative to that of a susceptible, unvaccinated individual. This measure of vaccination effectiveness will address an unmet clinical need and provide an innovative approach to vaccine development.”

The project, titled “Smart vaccine devices for delivery of COVID-19 vaccination”, will be led by a team of researchers with expertise in the use of microneedle arrays for transdermal therapeutic drug delivery and diagnostic applications.

Dr. Sharma added: “Skin vaccination using MNs has been described as a superior immunisation approach due to its potential to overcome immune tolerance observed in pregnancy and lower vaccination costs through antigen dose-sparing.”

“The real-time nature of the platform will mean rapid results allowing faster containment of the Covid-19 virus. This low-cost vaccine administration device will ensure a safe return to work and management of subsequent Covid-19 outbreak waves,” he added.

The IMPACT operation is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Swansea University.

Published on January 07, 2021

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