Novel Vaccine Delivery Technology Inspired By BBQ Lighter

Nov, 2021 - By SMI

Novel Vaccine Delivery Technology Inspired By BBQ Lighter

Scientists developed a battery-free electroporation device that delivers DNA vaccine and is inspired by barbeque lighters.

Electroporation technology is known to be very effective at delivering DNA vaccines, however these devices can be complex, bulky and expensive. A team of scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology converted a barbecue lighter into a battery-free electroporation device for delivering DNA-based vaccines. The team repurposed the electric spark that ignites the gas in the lighter to supply the power for electroporation. The piezoelectric sparking mechanism from lighter is connected to a microneedle patch through which the DNA vaccine is delivered inside cells in the treated area.

Electroporation technology involves delivery of an electric current to the site of vaccine injection on patient’s body, which destabilizes the cell walls in that part making them more penetrable. This process lets more number of DNA molecules to enter into the cells creating greater response of an immune system. The newly developed device, called as ePatch, comes with the barbeque lighter body with a patch of microneedles at the end. After the administration of a vaccine trough a hypodermic needle, the patch of microneedles is placed on patient’s skin at the site of injection where the microneedles penetrate only one-hundredth of an inch into the skin. The device generated electric current after pushing the button on it and the current passes through the needles into the cells. It creates the same effect as a traditional electroporation device with lesser pain.

Furthermore, the scientists tested the device on mice by delivering DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. It was found that the ePatch produced 10 times greater immune response compared to hypodermic injection. The team is developing a next-generation version of this new electroporation device, ePatch to deliver vaccine and electrical current both.

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