Mark Kendall: Demo: A needle-free vaccine patch that’s safer and way cheaper

Mark Kendall: Demo: A needle-free vaccine patch that’s safer and way cheaper

It’s a pleasure to be here in Edinburgh, Scotland, the birthplace of the needle and syringe. Less than a mile from here in this direction, in 1853 a Scotsman filed his very first patent on the needle and syringe. His name was Alexander Wood, and it was at the Royal College of Physicians. This is the patent. What blows my mind when I look at it even today is that it looks almost identical to the needle in use today. Yet, it’s 160 years old. So we turn to the field of vaccines. Most vaccines are delivered with the needle and syringe,
this 160-year-old technology. And credit where it’s due — on many levels, vaccines are a successful technology. After clean water and sanitation, vaccines are the one technology that has increased our life span the most. That’s a pretty hard act to beat. But just like any other technology, vaccines have their shortcomings, and the needle and syringe is a key part within that narrative — this old technology. So let’s start with the obvious: Many of us don’t like the needle and syringe. I share that view. However, 20 percent of the population have a thing called needle phobia. That’s more than disliking the needle; that is actively avoiding being vaccinated because of needle phobia. And that’s problematic in terms
of the rollout of vaccines. Now, related to this is another key issue, which is needlestick injuries. And the WHO has figures that suggest about 1.3 million deaths per year take place due to cross-contamination with needlestick injuries. These are early deaths that take place. Now, these are two things that
you probably may have heard of, but there are two other shortcomings of the needle and syringe you
may not have heard about. One is it could be holding back the next generation of vaccines in terms of their immune responses. And the second is that it could be responsible for the problem of the cold chain
that I’ll tell you about as well. I’m going to tell you about some work that my team and I are doing in Australia at the University of Queensland on a technology designed to
tackle those four problems. And that technology is called the Nanopatch. Now, this is a specimen of the Nanopatch. To the naked eye it just looks like a square smaller than a postage stamp, but under a microscope what you see are thousands of tiny projections that are invisible to the human eye. And there’s about 4,000 projections on this particular square compared to the needle. And I’ve designed those projections to serve a key role, which is to
work with the skin’s immune system. So that’s a very important function tied in with the Nanopatch. Now we make the Nanopatch with a technique called deep reactive ion etching. And this particular technique
is one that’s been borrowed from the semiconductor industry, and therefore is low cost and can be rolled out in large numbers. Now we dry-coat vaccines to
the projections of the Nanopatch and apply it to the skin. Now, the simplest form of application is using our finger, but our finger has some limitations, so we’ve devised an applicator. And it’s a very simple device — you could call it a sophisticated finger. It’s a spring-operated device. What we do is when we apply
the Nanopatch to the skin as so — (Click) — immediately a few things happen. So firstly, the projections on the Nanopatch breach through the tough outer layer and the vaccine is very quickly released — within less than a minute, in fact. Then we can take the Nanopatch off and discard it. And indeed we can make
a reuse of the applicator itself. So that gives you an idea of the Nanopatch, and immediately you can see some key advantages. We’ve talked about it being needle-free — these are projections that you can’t even see — and, of course, we get around the needle phobia issue as well. Now, if we take a step back and think about these other two really important advantages: One is improved immune
responses through delivery, and the second is getting rid of the cold chain. So let’s start with the first one,
this immunogenicity idea. It takes a little while to get our heads around, but I’ll try to explain it in simple terms. So I’ll take a step back and explain to you how vaccines work in a simple way. So vaccines work by introducing into our body a thing called an antigen which is a safe form of a germ. Now that safe germ, that antigen, tricks our body into mounting an immune response, learning and remembering
how to deal with intruders. When the real intruder comes along the body quickly mounts an immune response to deal with that vaccine and neutralizes the infection. So it does that well. Now, the way it’s done today
with the needle and syringe, most vaccines are delivered that way — with this old technology and the needle. But it could be argued that the needle
is holding back our immune responses; it’s missing our immune sweet spot in the skin. To describe this idea, we need to take a journey through the skin, starting with one of those projections and applying the Nanopatch to the skin. And we see this kind of data. Now, this is real data — that thing that we can see there is one projection from the Nanopatch that’s been applied to the skin and those colors are different layers. Now, to give you an idea of scale, if the needle was shown here, it would be too big. It would be 10 times bigger than the size of that screen,
going 10 times deeper as well. It’s off the grid entirely. You can see immediately that we
have those projections in the skin. That red layer is a tough outer layer of dead skin, but the brown layer and the magenta layer are jammed full of immune cells. As one example, in the brown layer there’s a certain type of cell
called a Langerhans cell — every square millimeter of our body is jammed full of those Langerhans cells, those immune cells, and
there’s others shown as well that we haven’t stained in this image. But you can immediately see that the Nanopatch achieves that penetration indeed. We target thousands upon thousands
of these particular cells just residing within a hair’s width of the surface of the skin. Now, as the guy that’s invented
this thing and designed it to do that, I found that exciting. But so what? So what if you’ve targeted cells? In the world of vaccines, what does that mean? The world of vaccines is getting better. It’s getting more systematic. However, you still don’t really know if a vaccine is going to work until you roll your sleeves up and vaccinate and wait. It’s a gambler’s game even today. So, we had to do that gamble. We obtained an influenza vaccine, we applied it to our Nanopatches and we applied the Nanopatches to the skin, and we waited — and this is in the live animal. We waited a month, and this is what we found out. This is a data slide showing the immune responses that we’ve generated with a Nanopatch compared to the needle and syringe into muscle. So on the horizontal axis we have
the dose shown in nanograms. On the vertical axis we have
the immune response generated, and that dashed line indicates
the protection threshold. If we’re above that line it’s considered protective; if we’re below that line it’s not. So the red line is mostly below that curve and indeed there’s only one point that
is achieved with the needle that’s protective, and that’s with a high dose of 6,000 nanograms. But notice immediately the distinctly different curve that we achieve with the blue line. That’s what’s achieved with the Nanopatch; the delivered dose of the Nanopatch is a completely different immunogenicity curve. That’s a real fresh opportunity. Suddenly we have a brand new lever in the world of vaccines. We can push it one way, where we can take a vaccine
that works but is too expensive and can get protection with a hundredth of the dose
compared to the needle. That can take a vaccine that’s suddenly
10 dollars down to 10 cents, and that’s particularly important
within the developing world. But there’s another angle to this as well — you can take vaccines that currently don’t work and get them over that line and get them protective. And certainly in the world of vaccines that can be important. Let’s consider the big three: HIV, malaria, tuberculosis. They’re responsible for about
7 million deaths per year, and there is no adequate vaccination
method for any of those. So potentially, with this new lever
that we have with the Nanopatch, we can help make that happen. We can push that lever to help get those
candidate vaccines over the line. Now, of course, we’ve worked within my lab with many other vaccines that have attained similar responses and similar curves to this, what we’ve achieved with influenza. I’d like to now switch to talk about another key shortcoming of today’s vaccines, and that is the need to maintain the cold chain. As the name suggests — the cold chain — it’s the requirements of keeping
a vaccine right from production all the way through to when the vaccine is applied, to keep it refrigerated. Now, that presents some logistical challenges but we have ways to do it. This is a slightly extreme case in point but it helps illustrate the logistical challenges, in particular in resource-poor settings, of what’s required to get vaccines refrigerated and maintain the cold chain. If the vaccine is too warm the vaccine breaks down, but interestingly it can be too cold and the vaccine can break down as well. Now, the stakes are very high. The WHO estimates that within Africa, up to half the vaccines used there are considered to not be working properly because at some point the
cold chain has fallen over. So it’s a big problem, and it’s tied
in with the needle and syringe because it’s a liquid form vaccine, and
when it’s liquid it needs the refrigeration. A key attribute of our Nanopatch is that the vaccine is dry, and when it’s dry it doesn’t need refrigeration. Within my lab we’ve shown that we can keep the vaccine stored at 23 degrees Celsius for more than a year without
any loss in activity at all. That’s an important improvement. (Applause) We’re delighted about it as well. And the thing about it is that
we have well and truly proven the Nanopatch within the laboratory setting. And as a scientist, I love that and I love science. However, as an engineer, as a biomedical engineer and also as a human being, I’m not going to be satisfied until we’ve rolled this thing
out, taken it out of the lab and got it to people in large numbers and particularly the people that need it the most. So we’ve commenced this particular journey, and we’ve commenced this
journey in an unusual way. We’ve started with Papua New Guinea. Now, Papua New Guinea is an example
of a developing world country. It’s about the same size as France, but it suffers from many of the key barriers existing within the world of today’s vaccines. There’s the logistics: Within this country there are only 800
refrigerators to keep vaccines chilled. Many of them are old, like this one in Port Moresby,
many of them are breaking down and many are not in the Highlands
where they are required. That’s a challenge. But also, Papua New Guinea has the
world’s highest incidence of HPV, human papillomavirus, the
cervical cancer [risk factor]. Yet, that vaccine is not available in large numbers because it’s too expensive. So for those two reasons, with
the attributes of the Nanopatch, we’ve got into the field and
worked with the Nanopatch, and taken it to Papua New Guinea and we’ll be following that up shortly. Now, doing this kind of work is not easy. It’s challenging, but there’s nothing else in
the world I’d rather be doing. And as we look ahead I’d like to share with you a thought: It’s the thought of a future where the 17 million deaths per year that we currently have due to infectious disease is a historical footnote. And it’s a historical footnote that has been achieved by improved, radically improved vaccines. Now standing here today in front of you at the birthplace of the needle and syringe, a device that’s 160 years old, I’m presenting to you an alternative approach that could really help make that happen — and it’s the Nanopatch with its attributes
of being needle-free, pain-free, the ability for removing the cold chain
and improving the immunogenicity. Thank you. (Applause)

100 Replies to “Mark Kendall: Demo: A needle-free vaccine patch that’s safer and way cheaper”

  1. I don't want to be the negative guy, but it's what i do…….now we got roofy (rape drug) patches….better cover up that tummy lady, don't wanna end up with a bad experience…Soon we won't be able to pat each other on the back anymore, lol. But this is a good example of how technology is NEUTRAL which means it can be used for evil or for the greater good.

  2. Beside this, there are many more medical achievements accomplished and not approved. And guess why?, the pharmaceutical companies wouldn't earn on this..

    The more technological advanced we get, the more technology get pushed back because there's no market for it, 

    So this requires a better system.

  3. This is very cool, and it's up to the corporations to decide how much they sell for… Doesn't matter how much less it costs them production wise lol. On a side note, death is a good thing in away guys. If we had 17 million more people alive each year in out already over populated world, I don't think it would really help the world much…

  4. Some vaccines for brand new outbreaks cannot be made fast enough for mass distribution, this would make it easier if they can administer smaller effective doses per person.

  5. Absolutely amazing!!!
    Just what we needed to make our world better place for all. As a registered nurse with over 20 years experience if you need anything I would be more than happy to help!!!

  6. I'm pretty excited for this. Particularly towards break through to diseases like HIV would help a lot of medical employees like myself.

  7. I want it so much! Because vaccinations basically doing for so-so young children, infants and babies and it's so hurt for them.

  8. A ten dollar vaccine for ten cents. All of the vaccine companies just shit their pants and started thumbing through their roll indexes for their favorite politicians to get this from ever seeing the light of day. I bet they'll come up with reasons like Jesus hates nano patches.

  9. I find it so frustrating how amazing technology break throughs such as this, take soooooooooo long to become main stream!! WHY? its been rpoven it works, its proven it is much better than the exsisting needle. Someone plough some serious money and infrastructure into it and lets get it done! in 5 years time every single hospital in the world should be using these, but they wont be.

  10. This was one of the more significant TED talks I've ever seen. It's a shame the guy was a bit dry. If he'd tossed in a bit of humor, like, "I've just infected myself with polio. Now you know I'm serious." when he applied the patch to his skin this would've been one of the best TED talks I'd ever seen.

    But I guess it's enough to ask of a man that his work revolutionize medical delivery mechanisms.

  11. Now we just need a version of this that takes blood test for you painlessly too XD. great talk, im genuinely excited about this.

  12. Needle-phobia isn't the only reason people might avoid needles. Some people, like myself, have a dejenerative disease that often causes permanent damage to the skin and tissue when needles are used. Personally, I don't find the needles themselves that bad – they barely hurt at all – but the after-effects are truly terrible. Within a few days of an injection, the constant pain in that area begins, and, when touched, the pain becomes at least 10 times worse than the injection ever was. Loss of some muscle control follows within a few months, usually worstening within a year or two. In short, they cause damage that never goes away, and no one seems to be able to treat it. That's an awefully high price to ask someone to pay.

  13. Innovative thoughts, grey's matters and actions have been put into this. The TALK is over and it is available NOW. Let's mass produce of this life changing NEEDLE-FREE vaccine patch !!!

  14. Not dry, faux moustache. Delivered by a gentleman in the best sense of the word.He doesn't shout or wave his arms about in exagerrated gestures. He lets his intelligence and facts speak for themselves.I feel honoured to listen to such a man.

  15. As an engineer myself I must (please underline) take my hat off to Mr. Kendall. However, we must also think about educating the people of the world. It is simply unsustainable to keep the whole population of the world healthy while it keeps growing. This problem presents a much bigger problem in the future because not only do we have limited space to place people, but we have limited resources to provide humanitarian conditions to them, namely food, shelter, health, and so on.

    We should develop ingenious methods to deliver vaccinations, such as Mr. Kendall's, but at the same time we should develop educational programs that could be deployable by many different mediums (web, human teachers, word of mouth, etc) that educate people about the problems of having an ever growing world population.

    P.S.: Hat off to Kendall.

  16. Hope the nanopatch never goes publicly traded, or else it will be crushed by so many companies… dirt cheap vaccines being sold for next to nothing? Wheres the profit, the big companies would ask… So they would go for the more money less effect route.

  17. This is just great. I am an internal medicine resident and although inmunology is not my major I have special interest in it, so I would like to know more about it. Where can I find scientific publications? Congratulations on your achievements, continue the great effort.

  18. The patch sounds good. As for the medications themselves,  I'm not nearly as informed on "all" vaccines as I'd like to be. But I am convinced that some are not good, such as the annual flu vaccines that are pushed on the populous. Any time there is a billion dollar industry, I've learned to take their claims and advice with some skepticism. I'm wondering if some of these vaccines have been tested by a non biased group, who do not profit one way or the other.

  19. Not only do I find the efficiency of nanopatches nothing short of amazing, but as one of those people with a downright crippling fear of needles, I simply can't tell you how much I would prefer this over a needle.

    Holy crap. About time the audience applauds, definitely chose the proper moment. Wonderful video, gave me a total science boner.

  21. The man in the blue blazer at the end got it right, a standing ovation, with a look of awe on your face. Absolutely necessary for this talk. .

  22. Almost everything he says is a COMPLETE LIE !!!!!!! 

    This will inject poisonous nano particles into the body as well as GMO poisons !!!!!!!

  23. Is this one of the vaccines that Bill Gates expects to reduce global population? Or is this one of the vaccines that gave tens of thousands of children polio in India? Or maybe this is one of the "brain-eating" vaccines developed by the Department of Defense that is intended to eliminate a person's higher brain function in order to render them docile, like a chemical lobotomy? Google these statements if you think I'm crazy.

  24. Vaccines are a great idea and can be used to save lives, but when the President appoints a science adviser who wrote a textbook detailing how global population needs to be drastically reduced even if it means sterilizing people without their knowledge or consent, you'd have to already be chemically lobotomized to think that we can trust these vaccines. 

  25. I like the idea that vaccines will be more effective, but I don't think that the needle phobia some people seem to have is a good reason.

    Instead of helping these people to get over their fear, you will strengthen it. To those people, you seem to admit that their fear is justified and that needles are indeed dangerous, even when used correctly.

  26. So…  What's the stance on this?  Where is it at now?  Where is it going?  Why isn't it out yet?

  27. questions:
    1. what is the cost of "dry" vaccine? for eg Tell me how much will one shot of Anti-tetnus cost me? it costs me $0.5 now in India.
    2. What about the vaccines which have courses such as Anti rabies?
    3. how is the doze controlled?
    4. is the use interchangeable with standard syringes?

  28. Weird question but is it simply dehydrated vaccine that is applied? Like it seems odd but isn't their structural loss in the target antigen if dehydrated? And is it strictly the antigenic components applied or other aspects such as adjuvants? And would this work for live attenuated?

  29. Please tell me I can replace all needles with this. I have needlephobia. Whilst I have been working on getting over it. It's hard to like… DO IT. :v I still pass out, almost every single time. And it's probably not as much as the needle penetrating as much as it is the fact that it must be in there, and then I must endure the sting of being injected something. sigh I just wish it could also be applied to sucking out blood… But I guess that's impossible. Since the pad is designed to inject. Not suck out.

  30. Ingenious-HOWEVER one violates the blood/ brain barrier matters not. VACCINE THEORY isn’t scientifically sound

  31. this is amazing, i wont have to scream and cry and have to go to the doctor 10 times before being tricked into getting a vaccination truly innovative!

  32. This would be great to incorporate into fabrics so you could go round spreading AIDS etc by shaking people's hands with gloves or brush past them in the street

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