Delivering vaccines involves a host of challenges. Live vaccines must be refrigerated, which requires a lot of resources and is often difficult in remote or less developed locales. Needles pose risks to patients and to healthcare workers, and they create a significant waste stream.
Now scientists at King's College in London have developed a dried version of a vaccine and successfully administered it to mice using sugar-based microneedles that dissolve in the skin. This new method for storing and delivering vaccines not only eliminates the need for hypodermic needles, refrigeration, and the associated resource use, but also improves safety because the vaccine itself isn't dependent on temperature to remain potent.
The scientists' solution has the potential to improve human health while reducing resource use. What other innovations have you seen that solve multiple problems?