Don’t Like Needles? ImmunoMatrix Is The New Way To Vaccinate

A woman from Long Island, NY, has developed a needle-free patch that can deliver vaccines painlessly.

We all know that most vaccines are delivered with needles and lots of us hate getting poked to feel better.

Biomedical engineer Kasia Sawicka has developed ImmunoMatrix – a painless patch that can vaccinate patients without opening up their skin. The patch can also last 10 weeks without refrigeration, which is cutting-edge in every sense.

Her invention, which looks like an oversized Band-Aid, has been successfully tested, and it is a blessing on every level.

Soon you can vaccinate yourself at home, and her invention is a perfect solution for vaccinating scores of people living in third world countries that that don’t have access to proper refrigeration for vaccine solutions and a regular supply of clean needles.

Yes, her new vaccine patch could help save lives.

“I discovered the technology 10 years ago as an undergrad, but I didn’t yet know how to apply it,” says Sawicka, who just earned her doctorate from the State University of New York (SUNY) – Stony Brook. “I have spent my whole graduate career trying to figure out where it would be most useful.”

“It opens up a whole avenue of different applications,” she says. “Just think about all the biohazardous waste, the needles and the syringes that can be saved.”

Her patch, which is loaded with nanofiber proteins, can be used to thwart off the flu and even pertussis (whooping cough). As well, it is tested and proven to combat anthrax and a variety of toxins and bacterial infections.

“The protein is a 3-D structure with the ability to fold and unfold,” she explains. “It’s just like riding a very crowded elevator— you can’t really make any movement. We think by throwing the protein inside the very tight structure of the nanofibers, we’re preventing them from being able to do as they please and begin to denature.”

Sawicka emphasizes that her new invention can be a real lifesaver during pandemics, like the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

“Logistically speaking, if you think of a rapidly spreading pandemic, having the ability to vaccinate a large number of people is really the only way we know to date how to deal with it. If you need to train emergency personnel, that presents a problem. What if we had a way to vaccinate people by just telling them to stick on a Band-Aid?” says Sawicka.

“Because the payload can be delivered to areas where it’s needed rapidly— no special handling required— then applied to the skin by someone whose sophistication is limited to that of applying a Band-Aid… it becomes possible to address these major challenges that have long bedeviled the health care profession in delivering vaccines to underserved areas,” adds Sawicka.

While the arrival of her ImmunoMatrix patch is good news, it will take at least 10 years before it hits the market commercially.

Sawicka will be spending the next while doing more tests in the lab to also see how her invention can be applied to other areas of medicine.

Will her invention be a hit when it launches commercially? Of course it will. Her vaccine patch, which is easy to make and affordable, will allow people to look after themselves at home and this will help reduce some of the strain being placed on the healthcare system.

And most of all her invention is sound in dealing with pandemics. As she says, it’s easier to slap on a Band-Aid like hers than it is to worry about needles.