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Why we still vaccinate mostly using needles?

Image credit: NIH

Juran K. Nov 28, 2020



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The problem with oral vaccines

Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Nov 30, 2020

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[4]Pavot V, Rochereau N, Genin C, Verrier B, Paul S, New insights in mucosal vaccine development, Vaccine 30 (2012) 142–154.

[5]Davitt CJH, Lavelle EC, Delivery strategies to enhance oral vaccination against enteric infections, Adv. Drug Deliv. Rev 91 (2015) 52–69.

Juran K.2 months ago
I agree with all the mentioned problems of oral vaccines, but the reason why I think the efforts must be made in terms of upgrading the oral vaccines and their administration is the fact that the efficacy and general performance of the vaccine depend on the solutions in three areas:
- production ("formula", packaging, distribution, ...)
- mode of action (efficiency)
- waste management

Although the "needle" vaccines present the best solution in terms of the "mode of action" part, their production and waste management costs are enormous. They require high purity, a sterile environment, trained personnel, and generate a lot of biohazardous material, which is not easily manageable, especially in third-world countries.
On the other hand, oral vaccines show incredible potential in production (distribution, self-administration, lower purity = lower costs of production) and waste management, thus offering a giant reduction of costs, which can be then repurposed for the R&D (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6132247/).

To conclude, the biggest problem of oral vaccines is, as you mentioned, the GI tract. I think the development of novel delivery systems based on adenoviruses or liposomes could be the key to increase the absorption and efficacy of oral vaccines.

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General comments

Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
This article explains it pretty well: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/11/07/why-arent-vaccines-given-intravenously/?sh=2e1bb8a4798c