Microneedle patch for tetanus toxoid vaccination

Emory University
Organization Location: 
Atlanta, Georgia

Tetanus is an acute & often fatal infection characterized by painful, spasmodic contractions entering the body through a wound or contaminated object. Newborns lacking passive maternal immunity can be infected through the umbilical stump, particularly when cut with a non-sterile instrument. Despite WHO’s vaccination recommendations, tetanus is prevalent in 28 countries claiming 200,000 neonates & 3,000 mothers per year. Bottlenecks for vaccination against tetanus are: lack of access & utilization of services, shortage of trained personnel, cold chain dependence, & ineffective campaigns due to lack of information, socioeconomic, or religious factors. Our goal is to engineer thermostable microneedle (MN) patches to deliver tetanus vaccine. Instead of expecting pregnant women from remote areas to travel far for vaccination, we propose to provide microneedle patches designed to be applied to skin like a skin plaster. Their small size, & lack of vaccine reconstitution, improves on standard practice. MNs are formulated to dissolve releasing the vaccine quickly, with no biohazard sharp waste. Our primary objective is to validate the design of dissolvable MNs containing current vaccine & test the vaccine efficacy in non-pregnant/pregnant mice. Our goal is to expand tetanus vaccination coverage in countries that have yet to eliminate maternal & neonatal tetanus (MNT) by developing a simple, safe, cold chain independent vaccine delivery platform that can protect the mothers & newborns.

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