SAARBRUECKEN, Germany (dpa) – There could soon be an alternative to the classic vaccination injection, according to German scientists.
Researchers at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig (HZI) are working on a project which could allow vaccinations to be administered via a skin cream.
The “taxis,” as Claud-Michael Lehr, director of the drug delivery department at HIPS, puts it, are biologically degradable nanoparticles.
The tiny transporters attach themselves to the hair follicles and so transmit the vaccination into the body, according to him.
“The skin is not broken,” says Lehr. “Ideally in the future you could simply put on some skin cream and you would be vaccinated.” Such creams would be significantly cheaper to produce and simpler to administer, advantages which would be especially important for developing countries.
According to Ralph von Kiedrowski, regional director of the Association of German Dermatologists in Rheinland Palatinate, it is a method which is certainly workable.
There are already vaccinations which are absorbed via the lining of the mouth, he says.
Another advantage of administering drugs via a cream would be that it could be used for people who are afraid of needles, he says.
But the nanoparticles would have to consist of substances that would not cause an unintentioned reaction by the body’s immune system. And the packaging would have to be constructed in a way that the correct amount of the vaccination was used.
There are always thoughts of developing new methods of giving vaccinations without injections, he added, and a cream would be realistic.