In 1955, Carlton Schwerdt announced the crystallization of poliomyelitis virus-- an essential step in the eventual development of the polio vaccine. Scientists working in vaccine development today have come up with new ways to deliver vaccines, including inhaled powders, microneedle patches, and even bananas.
The first dry powder inhalable vaccine for measles is moving toward clinical trials next year in India, where the disease still sickens millions of infants and children and kills almost 200,000 annually, according to a report presented at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Robert Sievers, Ph.D., who leads the team that developed the dry-powder vaccine, said it’s a perfect fit for use in back-roads areas of developing countries. Those areas often lack the electricity for refrigeration, clean water and sterile needles needed to administer traditional liquid vaccines.
“Childhood vaccines that can be inhaled and delivered directly to mucosal surfaces have the potential to offer significant advantages over injection,” Sievers said. “Not only might they reduce the risk of infection from HIV, hepatitis, and other serious diseases due to unsterilized needles, they may prove more effective against disease.”
“Many serious infections, such as the measles virus, can enter the body through inhalation. Measles vaccine dry powders have the potential to effectively vaccinate infants, children and adults by inhalation, avoiding the problems associated with liquid vaccines delivered by injection,” he added.
Although made for developing countries, the technology eventually could become the basis for a new generation of inhalable — and ouchless vaccines — in the United States and elsewhere. So far, an inhalable vaccine is available for only one disease. It is a wet mist vaccine for influenza.
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Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society