Microneedle arrays (MNAs) are a promising way of administering vaccines as they are nearly pain-free and can penetrate a substantial portion of the skin. A new dissolving microneedle patch array was developed at the University of Pittsburgh to carry live or attenuated viral vectors, as well as adjuvant compounds to boost vaccine effectiveness. The delivery platform can advance efforts to develop universal vaccines and improve The vaccine is delivered through 400 microscopic needles. Source: University of PittsburghThe vaccine is delivered through 400 microscopic needles. Source: University of Pittsburghglobal immunization capabilities essential for combating the coronavirus.

Dissolvable MNAs are designed to mechanically penetrate the superficial cutaneous layers, rapidly dissolve upon insertion into the skin, and deliver uniform quantities of biocargo to a defined 3D space within the skin. This enables localized delivery of low amounts of drugs or vaccines to achieve high concentrations in this specific skin microenvironment.

The 400 tiny needles, each just half of one millimeter, are synthesized from sugar mixed with the viral vectors and adjuvant required for the application. Pressing the MNA against the target site causes the vaccine to penetrate the upper skin levels of the skin, absorb moisture and then dissolve and release molecules that prompt the immune system to make antibodies to attack the virus. The technology can also improve cellular immune responses in patients and expand global immunization capabilities.

Antibody responses and strong cellular immune responses were observed after the 3D multicomponent dissolvable vaccine platform was used to administer a live adenovirus-encoded antigen combined with an immunostimulant to laboratory mice. The MNA delivery approach detailed in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology might be used to enhance the effectiveness of adenoviral vaccines now in development for the prevention of COVID-19.

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com