Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Boosting Vaccine Efficiency

PostedJune 19, 2020

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Lede: Making enough COVID-19 vaccine to immunize the world will be a challenge, but a new vaccination method, without the typical needles, may help.

Randy Atkins: Most vaccines are delivered in the muscle but Burak Ozdoganlar, a Carnegie Mellon University engineering professor, says injecting into your skin layer can prompt better immune response and requires a much lower dose. Problem is, it’s difficult.

Burak Ozdoganlar: You can take a needle that you keep horizontal to skin and you deliver it into the skin. Now the skin thickness is very small. So even a person who is very well trained ends up not being able to reproducibly deliver anything to the skin.

Randy Atkins: So Ozdoganlar has made micro-needle arrays…hundreds of very tiny needles in a patch. Vaccines would be pushed through them and painlessly delivered into your shoulder’s skin layer.

Burak Ozdoganlar: What we are proposing here is a technology that will make very reproducible, very controllable delivery to the skin.

Randy Atkins: Ozdoganlar says manufacturing of this technology is also very scalable and an added benefit is there’s no hypodermic needles to get rid of. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.