Any mother who has dragged their child kicking and screaming into the doctor for a physical can say a little extra prayer tonight. A team of Australian scientists have invented a needle-free vaccine, the Nanopatch.
Not only do kids have to stop fearing the nurse, these patches might make vaccines more effective. They place the vaccine into the skin, where plenty of immune cells reside, as opposed to traditional shots that put the medicine deep into the muscle tissue, with few immune cells. The patches don’t have to be kept cold, which will make them easier to transport to countries in need of immunizations like Africa and India. It doesn’t take a licensed professional to give you the vaccine. So it’s possible that getting your flu vaccine will be as simple as running by the pharmacy and applying the patch for a couple minutes in the privacy of your own home. OH! And it’s going to make immunizations cheaper.
I’m sure this technology has to be tested and studied, but so far, it’s sounding like all positives. The scientists who invented the Nanopatch, a team of 20 researchers led by Professor Mark Kendall, from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at The University of Queensland, already won the 2011 Eureka Prize for Excellence In Research, part of the Australian Museum’s Eureka Prizes. And if their invention makes it easier to protect millions of people in third-world countries from preventable diseases, I don’t think that the Eureka Prize will be the last honor for this amazing group of scientists.
The only downside to this story? The Nanopatch probably won’t be able on the market for another ten years. But hey, in the nect decade, children might stop fearing a trip to the doctor’s office because of a potential pinprick. The thought of never again having to hold down a screaming, hysterical infant as a nurse sticks a needle into its thigh is wonderful. Professor Mark Kendall, moms everywhere would like to say, “Thank you!”