Looking a bit like a fuzzy computer chip, the Nanopatch uses tiny powder-coated spikes to deliver a small dose of vaccine just under the skin, immunizing a person in about a minute. Made for less than $1, it uses only a fraction of a vaccine dose delivered by traditional syringe method (which was invented in 1853), at the same time eliminating the risk of needle injuries. What’s more, a Nanopatch infused with vaccine is designed to be heat-stable, so it can be transported without refrigeration. And the process doesn't draw blood, reducing the risk of infections.
Mark Kendall, an Australian biomedical engineer, was part of a team at the University of Queensland that advanced the Nanopatch by vaccinating animals. Now his company, Vaxxas, is on a mission to commercialize the device for human use. He plans to run an international trial using the Nanopatch, starting with the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine to protect against cervical cancer.