Co-administration of influenza and tetanus toxoid vaccines to pregnant mothers using a simple-to administer, thermostable microneedle patch that generates no sharps waste

Emory University
Organization Location: 
Atlanta, GA, USA

Reduction of maternal and neonatal death rates in developing countries is far behind the Millennium Development Goals. One method the WHO has recommended to bring down these rates is antenatal vaccination against two life threatening diseases- influenza and tetanus. Unfortunately many countries face bottlenecks for these vaccines because of a shortage  in trained health care personnel, and the need for syringes and needles for administration as well as refrigeration for storage. Additional hurdles for effective immunization campaigns may include cultural, religious, and conscientious beliefs. To increase vaccination coverage, we propose to develop a microneedle patch that co-administers the influenza and tetanus toxoid vaccines. Our approach is specifically designed to meet the needs of pregnant women and children under the age of 5 in developing countries by (i) seeking to prevent tetanus and influenza infection (ii) co-administering both vaccines with a simple-to-apply, thermostable patch that generates no sharps waste, thus improving safety by avoiding hypodermic needles. This type of vaccine administration requires minimally trained personnel, and is painless and therefore more acceptable to those being vaccinated. Additionally, because the vaccine patches are dry and do not need reconstitution they have improved thermal stability, and so can be shipped to remote areas and stored for prolonged periods without refrigeration. This approach is innovative because it introduces the technology of rapid vaccine skin delivery with dissolving polymer patches, thus significantly improving upon current practice. Importantly, dissolving microneedles have the potential to induce immune responses at least as robust as conventional immunization, thus reducing the need of multiple vaccinations.

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