A group of pharmacologists led by Dr. Maria Croyle of the University of Texas, Austin, have developed a new method that allows to create needles-free vaccines, which are taken as a candy .
All the laboratories in the world are now immersed in a race against the clock to develop the vaccine against the coronavirus . But when that vaccine is available, the complicated task of distributing it to the population remains. Most vaccines are given by injection, but it is an expensive process, which takes time (since the vaccine must be given by a doctor or nurse), and produces a large amount of waste.
In 2004, a massive campaign against measles in the Philippines meant the vaccination of 18 million children, resulting in waste of 19.5 million syringes. In total 140 tons of sharp trash and 80 tons of non-toxic waste: plastics, cotton, blisters, etc. With this new method that uses needles-free vaccines that are taken as a candy only one envelope containing the vaccine is needed. It is not necessary for a physician to supply it, and generates zero waste .
Another very important advantage is that this new type of candy-shaped vaccine uses easy-to-get ingredients, is cheap and simple to manufacture and, even more importantly, is stored at room temperature .
Dr. Maria Croyle says in The Conversation that the inspiration to create that vaccine came to her when she observed how the DNA is preserved millions of years in amber. So it occurred to him that they could try something similar with vaccine viruses. A simple idea, but no one had tried.
The idea may be simple, but putting it into practice was very complicated. The project started in 2007, and has been extended so far. The tests began with various combinations of sugars and salts but the virus was destroyed during the solidification process of the sugar or salt crystals, or did not maintain its properties over time.
They got to carry out more than 450 tests of ingredients a year until in the end they obtained what they were looking for: a vaccine that can be taken as a candy, and that is kept at room temperature .
It has already been tested and has been proven to maintain its properties. It can be used with different types of viruses, to prevent different diseases. The marketing process has already begun, and they expect it to start being used in less than two years.
The prospect of eating a candy that contains a virus is not very pleasant, but surely many people prefer it to needles …