Biomedical engineer Mark Kendall is revolutionizing the way life-saving vaccines are delivered, lowering the cost of immunization in the developing world and dispensing with the needle and syringe.
Mark Kendall was on his way to becoming a rocket scientist. Then he turned his talents to medical science and, using his knowledge of fluid mechanics, invented a method to deliver vaccine via a patch applied to the skin. His Nanopatch has the potential to spare the lives of the 17 million people who die of infectious diseases every year.
The Nanopatch has the potential to improve global health.
The Nanopatch can immunize people against infectious disease more safely and more effectively than the traditional needle or sugar cube. Thousands of invisibly small projections deliver vaccine directly to the area just under the skin’s surface, where the immune response is strongest, meaning much smaller doses are needed.
With no refrigeration required for the vaccine, which is dry-coated on to the patch, the delivery process is easier and far cheaper, particularly in the developing world where electricity can be unstable. Administering the dose is simpler too: a small applicator is used to propel the patch onto the skin and the patient is likely to feel only a small flick, a vast improvement from a needle. The patch is currently in clinical trials with the World Health Organization, using the polio vaccine.
The size of the Nanopatch
Micro-projections on the surface of a single Nanopatch
The immunization dose used by the Nanopatch compared to the traditional needle-and-syringe method