A new vaccine patch delivers the vaccine to layers of skin rich in immune cells. Other vaccines also led to a stronger immune response.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, not only new vaccines but also alternative vaccination methods have been researched in recent years. Scientists at Hannover Medical School have developed a Covid-19 vaccine for inhalation, and the University of North Carolina has developed a patch that enables vaccinations without an injection.
Now researchers at the University of Queensland have teamed up with biotechnology company Vaxxas to conduct another study using a vaccine patch. The vaccine Hexapro was administered. According to the study in mice, a vaccine patch could fight COVID-19 variants like Omicron and Delta better than a traditional needle vaccine.
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Skin layers with many immune cells
dr Christopher McMillan of the University of Queensland said the vaccine patch appears to be more effective at countering new variants than the current SARS-CoV-2 vaccine given by injection. “The high-density microarray patch is a delivery method that delivers the vaccine precisely to the layers of the skin that are rich in immune cells,” said Dr. McMillan. “We found that vaccination via a patch is approximately 11 times more effective at controlling the omicron variant than the same vaccine administered via a needle.”
Better immune response through vaccination patches
“To date, every type of vaccine we’ve tested with the patch has elicited a superior immune response compared to traditional needle vaccination methods,” said McMillan. Currently available vaccines may not be as effective due to the constantly emerging COVID-19 variants, which has put researchers at a crossroads. “This decreased efficacy was demonstrated by the omicron variant, which contains over 30 mutations in the spike protein,” said Dr. David Muller from the University of Queensland. “The large number of mutations has given the virus the ability to evade the immune responses elicited by current vaccines.”
However, according to Muller, patch technology has the potential to be a new and more effective weapon. Not only are the patches more effective against emerging variants, they are also much easier to administer than needle-based vaccines. “However, it is important to emphasize that the existing vaccines remain an effective means of combating serious illness and disease caused by this virus.”
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