Boston, Massachusetts. Sept 16th: Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have invented a new technology that could enable every childhood vaccination to be given in a single injection. The all-in-one jab stores the different vaccines in microscopic capsules in the body and releases the dose, as well as any required boosters, at the appropriate time.
The Scientists found the method was successful in tests involving mice and reported their findings in the Science journal. They said they were able to design the micro-capsules so that they released the different vaccine particles at exactly nine, 20 and 41 days after they were first injected.
The new micro-particles are biodegradable and are designed to break down at just the right time to deliver the vaccine into the body.
Childhood vaccinations are currently given in numerous different injections, causing distress for parents and infants alike. Babies receive vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, whooping cough, Hib and hepatitis B at eight, 12 and 16 weeks. They are also given jabs again pneumococcal and meningitis B at eight weeks, 16 weeks and one year.
Photo: Syringe needle and child to be vaccinated
In addition, children are given a Hib and meningitis C vaccine at one year, and inoculation against measles, mumps and rubella at 12 months and when they are three. The new technology could instead see all of these vaccinations given in one single jab.
The new technology involves using microscopic silicone moulds to form the micro-particles. The particles are then removed, filled with the vaccine or drug and allowed to dry. A lid is then added and the whole module heated to seal it.
Experts believe the technology might prove the difference in encouraging people to get vaccinated, especially in the developing world. The method could also be used to help people who require regular injections, such as those with diabetes or serious allergies.