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New Spray-Vaccine does not Require Refrigeration

Update Date: Mar 19, 2014 09:34 AM EDT

Every year, government agencies stress the importance of getting the flu vaccine. However, vaccination rates continue to remain low across all age groups. In a new report, researchers have developed a single-dose nasal spray vaccine that does not require refrigeration. This new type of vaccine, called "nanovaccines," could help vaccinate people living in remote areas.

"Our nanovaccine approach could be instrumental for containing future outbreaks of recently emerged and re-emerging diseases, such as SARS, new flu strains and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis," said Balaji Narasimhan, Ph.D., the project's lead researcher and professor of chemical engineering at Iowa State University. "Our nanovaccines can be stored at room temperature for as long as six to 10 months and still work. Also, we're designing them so they get delivered in one dose through a nasal spray, which could potentially allow patients to give the vaccine to themselves."

Currently, the vaccines available require needles, boosters and refrigeration, which could deter doctors from carrying the vaccine and discourage people from getting them. Aside from the pain factor, some people might need follow-up shots after the vaccine, which can be difficult to get. For people living in remote areas, they might also not have the time or the funds to travel to a medical facility for these shots. This new vaccine is a lot more simple and versatile. The nanovaccines can be administered through the nose or by the more conventional form of a shot. For people in remote areas, the nasal form of the vaccine could ideally be self-administered.

"We have exciting results that attest to the ability of the nanovaccine formulations to do a very good job of activating cell-mediated immunity," said Narasimhan in the press release. "We've shown that it works with rodents, and we're moving forward to show that in larger animals, as well."

The latest vaccine design was presented at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACD).

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