Advancement of Microneedle Coronavirus Vaccines
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As the need for a vaccine increases with every passing day, some doctors and researchers have begun to repurpose and try already existing methods of vaccinations to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus. The use of microneedle patches to administer vaccines has sparked interest from pharmaceutical researches in the hopes of preventing future spread of the Coronavirus. A microneedle patch is an alternative to the traditional needle injection vaccine most commonly used. Rather, the microneedle patch is small clear patch (the size of a fingertip) that is placed onto a patient’s arm. The microneedle contains hundreds of smaller needles that individual inject the vaccine in miniscule doses to allow the body to produce antibodies that will fight the disease. The use of microneedles patches has provided successful results in other forms of coronaviruses containing the “spike protein” which has been used to depict the virus. The most recent implementation of the vaccine was used to alleviate the outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory System. As this alternative vaccine was being developed and studied, the researchers found it may have triggered a more rapid response by the body’s immune system to develop antibodies necessary to protect a person from infection. The animal trials conducted for microneedle patches also revealed a stronger response to the vaccine than a traditional injection as the subject’s antibodies substantially increased over the span of fifty-five months. Finally, the microneedle patches allow for broader distribution and greater flexibility. Moreover, unlike a traditional vaccine, microneedle patches do not have to be refrigerated. This flexibility allows for doctors and hospitals to store the vaccine, and the developers to produce mass amounts of the vaccine at a time without worrying about it being wasted or going bad due to faulty refrigeration. Currently, due to the complexity of this vaccine, it is still in the early stages of testing. To date, researchers at University of Pittsburgh have recently gained approval to continue clinical trials on mice and will soon transition to human testing. Because of potential for low costs, and mass production, the government is providing researchers with resources to receive fast-track approval to enter into the human testing stage they are hoping to undergo and expand by the end of April. But, various government agencies continue to note that although that a COVID-19 microneedle patch is still twelve (12) to eighteen (18) months away. As of April 14, 2020, there are nearly 2 million reported cases of Coronavirus worldwide, including nearly 583,000 in the Unites States.