The first Covid-19 vaccine ‘smart patch’ is being produced by British scientists.
Two Covid-19 vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca) have now been approved and the mass rollout is well underway. Over 1.3 million Brits have already received a jab and it has just come to light that another vaccine is being developed – although this one won’t involve injections… [Featured image: BBC]
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Scientists at Swansea University are currently producing a vaccine ‘smart patch’ as another option for immunisations against Covid-19. The disposable device is made of silicone and uses microneedles to administer the vaccine while also measuring the body’s immune response. The patch would be secured to each patient’s arm for up to 24 hours and would then be scanned to provide a data reading for researchers monitoring its efficacy.
According to the scientists, the skin patch will be just as effective as the current vaccines and will provide additional support for potential outbreaks in the future. They will also be an alternative for those afraid of needles as “they do not penetrate as deeply into the skin.” The project received both Welsh and European funding and a prototype is set to be complete by the end of March. It will then be submitted for clinical trials which may take up to three years to complete.
Senior lecturer Dr Sanjiv Sharma said “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.”
“Beyond the pandemic, the scope of this work could be expanded to apply to other infectious diseases as the nature of the platform allows for quick adaption to different diseases.”