Technology taking the sting out of vaccinations

Man administering the Vaxxas Nanopatch needle-free vaccine delivery patch to himself.

National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy supported the development of the Vaxxas Nanopatch.

This story was first published on Tuesday 1 December 2020. If you wish to use this content, please contact media@dese.gov.au to confirm that the information is still current.

Imagine receiving a vaccination by simply applying a postage-stamp sized patch to your skin. It does not need to be refrigerated, can be posted in the mail and be easily administered in third world countries. 

This revolutionary technology has been supported by the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS)—a national network of world-class research infrastructure projects that link Australian researchers and their international partners to address key national and global challenges. 

It is a safe, highly effective and needleless vaccine patch that’s being geared up to be used to combat COVID-19. And it is a great Australian manufacturing story which is about to go global.

Instead of pain and tears, imagine receiving a vaccination by painlessly applying a patch the size of a postage stamp to your skin. The Vaxxas Nanopatch is a revolutionary technology being developed in Queensland and driven by funding for the NCRIS network. It does not need to be refrigerated, can be easily used and it can be posted in the mail to someone who needs it. 

It delivers a vaccine by using thousands of micro-sized pointed tips – or projections – that can painlessly penetrate the outer layers of the skin. A vaccine is dried onto the projections and is released immediately below the skin’s surface to waiting immune cells.  

Clinical trials are underway to see if patients can use it to self-administer vaccines.

The technology has huge implications for global health and future pandemics.  

The Nanopatch was invented at the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology by Professor Mark Kendall and Vaxxas was founded by UQ commercialisation company UniQuest in 2011.  

From the beginning, Vaxxas has used the NCRIS-funded networks of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) and Microscopy Australia to advance its work.  
Vaxxas recently signed an agreement with the Queensland government to produce enough needle-free vaccine kits to deliver 300 million doses each year and will be produced in a specially developed medical plant in Brisbane.

Vaxxas Chief Development and Operations Officer Dr Angus Forster said the initial research and much of the development work on the vaccine delivery technology was conducted using NCRIS infrastructure.

“Without NCRIS support, this breakthrough technology may never have come to fruition,” Dr Forster said.

“Vaxxas’ continued use of the Australian National Fabrication Facility and Microscopy Australia enables and accelerates the fabrication and measurement of our medical device components generating advanced manufacturing jobs in Australia.”
 

More information

 

Correct at time of publication.