The world’s first smart vaccine patch is being developed at Swansea University
It could be used to combat COVID-19
Swansea University is developing the world’s first smart vaccine patch at the university’s IMPACT research centre, in partnership with the Imperial College of London.
The patch is a small, disposable silicon device with millimetre-long-microneedles that delivers the vaccine, as well as monitors it’s success. It is patched onto the receiver’s arm using a strap or tape for twenty-four hours, and then scanned for data by researchers. The data reading can be used to analyse the efficacy of the dose and the body’s response to it.
Dr. Sanjiv Sharma, a senior lecturer at Swansea University stated: “What we expect in response to the self-administration of this vaccine patch is to see the production of immunoglobulins, which the device will be able to detect.
“This low-cost vaccine administration device will ensure a safe return to work and management of subsequent Covid-19 outbreaks.”
Olivia Howells, a PHD student stated that the device is a “cheaper alternative to hypodermic needles” and that it could help countries “which don’t have huge resources for vaccine rollout.” She also said that “they do not penetrate as deeply into the skin and they do not stimulate the pain receptors, so they’re less painful than a hypodermic needle.”
The technology is a convenient way of immunising people, especially those uncomfortable with needles, and can be adapted to fight against other viruses and diseases as well.
The team of researchers and scientists plan to have a prototype ready by March, and are aiming to make the device commercially available within the next three years.
The project is still in its early stages and there are several things to consider, including human trials, before it can be approved.