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Scientists create needle-free vaccination out of sugar

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No more injections: dried sugar used to create microneedle array

I don’t know anyone who enjoys receiving an injection. It’s painful, and even if you have a great doctor or nurse who administers the injection pain free, chances are it leaves the area a bit tender or the pain comes later. So when Fujifilm announced last year it had developed a painless microneedle array to replace injections, there was much rejoicing. But it turns out the Japanese company weren't the only ones working to render injections redundant.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has helped fund research carried out at King’s College London to produce a microneedle array made from dried sugar. It looks a lot like the tongue cleaner you find on the back of a toothbrush, but instead it can be (painlessly) pushed into the skin to administer avaccine.

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As the needles are tiny you can’t feel them piercing your skin. And because they are formed from dried sugar, they easily dissolve and allow the vaccine to enter your body.

The live vaccine is kept in dried form as part of the array, meaning it is much easier to keep viable for longer periods of time than in liquid form. That’s also going to save a lot of money, especially when transporting vaccines to hard to reach areas of the world. No needles also means no contamination as every patient will use a new microneedle array.

In order to produce the microneedle arrays, the researchers at King’s College London used a silicone mould provided by TheraJect. The completed array was then tested on mice and shown to deliver the same dose of vaccine as the liquid form through an injection does.

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There’s one final benefit that is sure to make this a hit with doctors. During the development of the array it was discovered there’s certain specialized cells on our skin that “act as a surveillance system” and kick the body’s immune system into action when the vaccine is discovered piercing our outer layer. That in turn means the body reacts more quickly to the vaccine and it is therefore more effective in a shorter timeframe.

Taken from article here

Amazing!

I don't like needles myself, so this is honestly such an incredible design for all people nervous over needle injections.

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this is great for sub-dermal injections, but those don't usually hurt anyways, it's the intramuscular injections that hurt, and those will not work with this, as it doesn't go deep enough to hit muscle. it IS great for sub-dermal injections for poor countries and transportation and whatnot though.

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Not so sure this is a great idea. Now anyone can plant a few of these on you and you might not even know. who knows what these things can be filled with. At least with a needle you know if someone is injecting you with something.

On the other hand, one of the riskiest things you can do nowadays is go to the hospital and get an injection or let them break your skin in anyway. In this respect it is a great idea but these things could be used for so much evil.

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I wish they make something like that for dental work. I almost died the first time I saw the big steel needle they stab into your gums to numb them. I mean, holy crap. Those things have to be a few inches long. If you've never had it done before, always close your eyes as soon as you get on the dentist chair if you have a fear of needles. You do not want to see the size of the needle they stab into your mouth.

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Never would be my guess. Some drugs would still need to be administered intravenously.

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