A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford has found that ultrasound can be used to deliver vaccines through the skin, eliminating the need for painful needles. The researchers mixed vaccine molecules with tiny proteins and applied the mixture to the skin of mice. They then used ultrasound to push the mixture into the upper layers of the skin, where bubbles filled with the vaccine formed and eventually burst, releasing the vaccine.
Although the ultrasound method only delivers the vaccine to the upper layers of the skin, rather than into the muscles beneath, the researchers found that it was still effective in producing antibodies in the mice. In fact, the mice produced more antibodies than those that received conventional jabs, despite receiving 700 times fewer vaccine molecules. The researchers believe that the increased production of antibodies may be due to the presence of more immune cells in the skin.
However, there are still some concerns and unanswered questions regarding this new vaccination method. The researchers note that the bubble-bursting process within the skin can be unpredictable, potentially leading to uneven distribution or unpredictable amounts of vaccine molecules. They are currently working on developing better ways to track this process in order to ensure its reliability.
While the needle-less ultrasound method shows promise in making vaccinations less painful and more accessible, further research is needed to determine its safety and effectiveness in humans. Kate Edwards, a researcher at the University of Sydney, suggests that more data on the method's safety in humans would be necessary before widespread use can be considered.
In conclusion, the use of ultrasound to deliver vaccines through the skin shows potential in reducing the pain associated with vaccinations and increasing accessibility. However, more research is needed to address concerns about reliability and to ensure the safety and effectiveness of this new method in humans.