The facility, to be set up in the suburb of Hamilton in Brisbane, Queensland, supposedly seeks to simplify the complex process and the exceptional costs associated with traditional vaccine delivery methods. The Australian government further said that this new manufacturing facility will better position the country to tackle future disease outbreaks more effectively.
Spanning an expansive 5,500 square meters (60,000 square feet), the facility will function as both a global headquarters and a biomedical center. The state government of Queensland is providing generous subsidies for biotech company Vaxxas to operate the facility.
Vaxxas plans to manufacture and distribute its first commercially available vaccine patches from the facility within the next three to five years. The company and the Queensland government claim that these patches will enhance accessibility to vaccines, particularly in areas within Australia that do not have as readily-available access to trained medical professionals and proper storage facilities for vaccines.
"This world-renowned technology has the potential to play a vital role in pandemic preparedness because it allows vaccines to be deployed quickly and easily to our communities," said left-wing Queensland Deputy Premier Stevel Miles at the facility's inauguration.
"The potential of this world-renowned technology to play a crucial role in pandemic preparedness cannot be overstated. The ease and speed with which vaccines can be deployed to our communities using these patches are remarkable," Miles added.
The vaccine patches being developed by Vaxxas are part of an emerging technology known as microneedle vaccines. This technology offers the convenience of self-administration, enabling vaccine manufacturers to deposit their vaccinations through the surface of the skin in mere seconds. Moreover, the patches can remain stable at room temperature, eliminating the need for cold chain storage.
However, manufacturing efficient microneedles has been a challenge. Typically, microneedles are made up of arrays of polymer needles approximately 100 micrometers wide, which can be coated with drugs. But drugs can be directly incorporated into the polymers, allowing the needles to dissolve in the skin and release the medication. (Related: 3D-printed microneedles that can dissolve in your skin created by researchers.)
One group of researchers developed a 3D printing technique for creating microneedles to overcome manufacturing difficulties. They chose to use polylactide, a non-toxic and biodegradable polymer approved for use in dissolvable stitches. By using fused deposition modeling, the researchers produced features smaller than 100 micrometers, which are necessary for microneedle fabrication.
During testing in 2018, the team successfully produced polylactide pillars with widths of 400-600 micrometers. However, they could not achieve the desired tapered needle shape using 3D printing alone. They turned to chemical etching to complete the process.
Once the researchers obtained suitable microneedle samples, they conducted tests on pig skin. The microneedles delivered a dye molecule just beneath the skin, mimicking the delivery of a standard drug. Furthermore, as it is soluble in mildly acidic or alkaline pH levels, polylactide quickly dissolves after breaking off in the skin. This feature ensures a simple and hassle-free solution.
Vaxxas' vaccine patch technology platform builds on this prior research. The company said it has successfully completed several human clinical trials involving over 500 participants.
The latest news about Big Pharma's microneedle vaccines can be found at Vaccines.news.
Watch this video to learn more about dissolving microneedle patches.
This video is from TheBubbaNews channel on Brighteon.com.