We have partnered with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Influenza Centre to develop a low-cost, portable device for needle-free inhaled vaccinations against influenza.
Although vaccinations can be delivered effectively with a needle, injections have their drawbacks. The anticipation of pain leads many to avoid vaccinations entirely. Costly personnel must be trained to administer the injection and dispose properly of the needle. Used needles can cause needle stick injuries and have the potential to transmit infectious diseases. Needles are expensive to produce, transport and destroy.
The combination of these problems represents a significant challenge to world health. This is especially evident in developing countries lacking in medical infrastructure. A cheaper, less intimidating and less dangerous method of delivering vaccinations could change the face of global health.
DNA influenza vaccines are an alternative form of vaccine that offers certain advantages and disadvantages when compared with the traditional variety. DNA vaccines don't need to be refrigerated, which makes them cheaper to transport. They are easier to produce than the vaccinations in use today, and they produce fewer side effects. The downside to DNA vaccines is their reduced immune response in clinical trials.
We recognised that technology capable of delivering DNA influenza vaccine directly to the site of infection could be the breakthrough required.
We have developed a cheap, portable nebulisation machine that uses micro fluids to carry the DNA influenza vaccine directly to the lungs where the disease occurs. Early trials have been encouraging.