After six years of effort, a Tufts University team of scientists, doctors and researchers led by Abraham Sonenshein and Saul Tzipori,
have created a
needleless vaccine that does not require refrigeration. This represents a huge advancement as most vaccines require refrigeration, making their transport complicated, expensive and nearly impossible to deliver to remote parts of the world.
This breakthrough is no small feat. Scientists had to enclose parts of the bacteria, allowing the vaccine to still be viable after extreme conditions.
In order to test the vaccine’s resistance to temperatures, researchers submerged the substance in 80 degree Fahrenheit water for 17 months. At the end of that time period, the vaccine was found to still be viable. Development of a vaccine using a rotavirus produced an equally promising outcome.
The other objective of the team was to devise a needleless delivery system in order to counter children’s aversion to injections and avoid the high cost of sterilizing needles. Creating oral vaccines was unsuccessful, but nasal drops worked and drops under the tongue were also successful. This is advantageous because putting drugs under the tongue allows them to be absorbed into the body very quickly.
While these experiments were conducted on mice and pigs, the team is currently seeking sponsorships to create doses of the vaccines for human use. When that happens, third-world countries could be immunized more easily and inexpensively and the chemicals and preservatives found in vaccines administered by needles would potentially be totally eliminated.
This may represent a profound turning point in the contentious vaccine debate since substances added to vaccines are the primary source of worry for many parents. In concert with The Thoughtful House’s investigation into the synergistic influence of multiple vaccines on young immune systems, this could chart a path towards that missing middle ground between the pro- and anti-vaccine camps, particularly within the autism community.
While many people think that parents wary of vaccinations just don’t like having their children get stuck with needles, I don’t think this is true. Of course, drops under the tongue would make vaccines less traumatic for children and thus easier on their parents, but the method of delivery has never taken precedence over what is actually being delivered.
It’s heartening to learn of these advances in the field of vaccines that could ultimately render happier and healthier children worldwide.