And while the whole world is divided into two camps – those who are actively vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who are against vaccination, scientists in the United States have developed a patch that will compete with the vaccine, and may even be several times more effective than the latter. In the future, this patch will be able to cure a number of other diseases.
The development of the COVID-19 patch belongs to scientists from Stanford University and the University of North Carolina, who printed a vaccine patch on a 3D printer, saying that it would be much more effective than an injection. Scientists conducted a study of the patch on animals, as a result of which an immune response was obtained, which turned out to be 10 times stronger than vaccination by intramuscular injection. On the polymer patch planned on the 3D printer, microneedles are arranged in a line with a length that is enough to pierce the skin to a depth sufficient to deliver the vaccine.
By developing this technology, we hope to lay the foundation for even faster global vaccine development and delivery, without pain and anxiety,” Joseph said. Desimon is the lead author of the study and an entrepreneur in the field of 3D printing technology, professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University and professor emeritus at the University of California at Chapel Hill.
As a result of the study, it was found out that the patch with the vaccine causes a significant T-cell and antigen-specific antibody response, which is 50 times higher than if injected intramuscularly. With such an increased immune response, it is possible to save the dose of the vaccine, since a smaller dose of the vaccine is used in a patch with microneedles for vaccination. Patches with microneedles are not an innovation. Scientists have been studying their effects on the human body for the past ten years. But in their new development, scientists from Carolina and Stanford were able to improve their final product by solving some past problems. Using 3D printing, the microneedles are easily customized, which allows you to develop various patches for vaccines against diseases such as influenza, measles, hepatitis and COVID-19. The microneedles of such a patch are covered with a vaccine that, penetrating under the skin, quickly dissolves. One of the advantages of the vaccine patch is the ability to ship it around the world without special storage conditions. Applying the patch also does not require any special manipulations and the involvement of medical staff. You can do it yourself at home. Such ease of use of the patch can significantly increase the level of vaccination.
“As a rule, it is difficult to adapt microneedles for different types of vaccines. These problems, combined with manufacturing problems, may be holding back the emergence of microneedles for vaccine delivery,” said Shaoming Tian, lead author of the study from the UNC School of Medicine. “Our approach allows us to directly print microneedles on a 3D printer, gives us ample opportunities to create the best microneedles in terms of performance and cost,” the author of the study added.
The vaccine microneedle patch was printed on a 3D printer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill using a prototype CLIP 3D printer invented by Joseph M. DeSimone and manufactured by his Silicon Valley-based company CARBON.
“One of the most important lessons we learned during the pandemic is that innovations in science and technology can affect the global response,” DeSimou said.