Updating Vaccine Technology

by Sydney Bedell

Saving people in developing countries from diseases is now becoming a constant battle in today’s world. Australian engineer, Mark Kendall has invented the “nanopatch”.  This patch that is no bigger than the tip of your finger, it is covered in thousands of vaccine coated microscopic spikes. When the patch is put on the skin the spikes release the vaccine into the skin. Its smaller, cheaper, no doctors are needed, these components make it a great candidate for developing country use.

Needles are painful during injection and sometimes after the injection as well. Also, some people are terrified of needles, more than ten percent of people even suffer from trypanophobia (a phobia caused by needles) and they are more costly. Every year hospitals and doctors offices dispose of about 7.8 billion needles. Needles cost about $1.20 each, Kendall says the nano patch is going to cost no more that $1.00. After one use of each of those 7.8 billion needles they are disposed and never used again. This is another reason that Mark Kendall has come up with this new method. It keeps us from wasting so much, and from spending so much money.  

Cutting down, is a test that Kendall has tested, it consist of using less of the vaccine to get the same result. He used lab rats to test whether the amount of the vaccine makes it more effective or not. Kendall found that using a much smaller dosage than what is usually used still produces the same immune response to the vaccine. The “nanopatch” is less costly because it’s made out of a material that is less expensive than needles and the set up and refrigeration and the professional workers used to carry and distributed them to offices and hospitals.

No cold chain is another big part that researchers have liked about this new form of technology. No cold chain means that the “nanopatch” doesn’t need refrigeration that’s why it is being stored (before use), and also they don’t need trained staff used for delivery. This also makes the process much cheaper because they don’t have to pay for electricity, or pay working staff.

The tests on the nanopatch has not been used for human research for the reason that little to no test have been used for human research. Kendall does want to start testing the nano patch on humans this year, getting excited that the time is getting closer to prove is methods are good for the human race. The nanopatch will be available for vaccines against: flu, human papilloma virus (HPV), and even vaccines for mosquito borne viral diseases. It’s these advancements we need to make our world more successful! Check out this youtube video for more information about the nanopatch! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGRy5VU-LfI

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This is the blog run by the Writing for Media class.

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