A Covid-19 vaccine patch developed in Australia has been found to be much more effective at protecting against new variants of the virus than needles.
Researchers at the University of Queensland have tested a high-density patch from Brisbane biotech company Vaxxas in mice, using it to deliver a dose of the Hexapro SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
They found that it was about 11 times more effective against the Omicron variant than the same vaccine given through a needle.
“The high-density microarray patch is a vaccine delivery platform that accurately delivers the vaccine to the immune cell-rich layers of the skin,” explained Dr. Christopher McMillan of UQ.
The results offer hope for better protection against the Covid variants that vaccine researchers have so far struggled to contain.
“The high number of mutations has given the virus the ability to evade immune responses elicited by current vaccines,” said UQ’s Dr. David Mueller.
“However, patch technology could offer new – and more effective – weapons to our arsenal at a time when new variants are mutating at a rapid rate.”
The positive results extend beyond the Hexapro vaccine: so far, every type of vaccine has been tested with a patch, including subunit, DNA, inactivated virus, and conjugate, resulting in a better immune response than needles.
Vaxxas CEO David Howey said the company is expanding its manufacturing capacity, including opening a new facility in Brisbane to conduct large-scale clinical trials of the patch.
He added that technology can play a role in providing an international response to global health emergencies such as current and future pandemics.
Originally published as Covid patch is more effective than needles