Iomai Corp. is back with a new way to deliver vaccines for those who are uncomfortable with needles and syringes. Their new method will deal with the idea of vaccinatnig patients through their skin, where one will take full advantage of the high density of Langerhans cells in the epidermis in order to activate an amplified immune response. Along the same vein (pun not intended), since transcutaneous vaccination does not involve systemic exposure, one is able to utilize more potent immune stimulants for greater effect. The afore-mentioned factors coupled with its needle-less procedure help position transcutaneous vaccination as an appealing option since one will require less vaccine for an equal immune response, resulting in even more cost savings in the long run. Apart from that, having the vaccine in a dry, patch form enables it to last a whole lot longer sans refrigeration, with research pointing validity of the vaccine up to a whopping 6 months.
Application of the vaccine can get rather tricky however, as one is required to scrape off some of the keratinized epithelium in order to gain access to the Langerhans cells. For that to happen, the level and amount of abrasion is required to be consistent, painless, and easy enough so that one can perform a self-administration procedure. Currently, a design firm has already been hired to develop the application technique for the transcutaneous vaccine patches. IDEO has decided to look towards a band aid-like device complete with a bulls eye and an attached tab. A simple press at the center while pulling the tab will help draw an abrasive strip across the skin, leaving an ink mark simultnaeously so that one knows the exact place to put the vaccine patch. Currently, the application device and patch are being manufactured via standard processes and materials in order to make them cheaper to manufacture in developing countries – hopefully a high level of quality control will be maintained then.