Researchers in the US have developed a type of microparticle, that can deliver and release vaccines at set times, to create a single dose ‘self-boosting” vaccine’.
Vaccination programmes for diseases such as Covid-19 or polio, require multiple shots to protect the recipient, but poor patient attendance on vaccination programmes is a significant problem, particularly for people living in remote areas, leaving them vulnerable to life-threatening diseases.
To tackle this, researchers from the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, in Boston, Massachusetts, have developed microparticles which resemble tiny coffee cups sealed with a lid, that contain the vaccine.
These microparticles are made of a biodegradable polymer which can be designed to degrade after a specified period of time, allowing the researchers to control when the vaccine is released.
In its recent study, featured in PNAS, the research team successfully used a single dose microparticles vaccine against polio in rats.
“Such a single injection approach has the potential to not only improve patient compliance, but also increase cellular and humoral immune responses to the vaccine,” said senior author Robert Langer.