LONDON

Scientists at a university in Wales are working on a device that will administer the Covid-19 vaccine and then measure its efficacy by monitoring the body afterwards.

Injecting its wearer with a vaccine via microneedles, the “smart-patch” will “simultaneously measure a patient’s inflammatory response to the vaccination by monitoring biomarkers in the skin,” according to a statement from Swansea University.

Thanks to microneedles, it will deliver medicines in a minimally invasive manner, in a similar manner seen in nicotine patches, the statement said of the device being developed by the university’s Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT).

“Measuring vaccine efficacy is extremely important as it indicates the protective effects of vaccination on an individual via the level of reduction of infection risk in a vaccinated person relative to that of a susceptible, unvaccinated individual,” project leader Dr. Sanjiv Sharma said.

“This measure of vaccination effectiveness will address an unmet clinical need and would provide an innovative approach to vaccine development.”

Sharma explained that vaccinations using microneedles could be a superior immunization approach due to its “potential to overcome immune tolerance observed in pregnancy, and lower vaccination costs through antigen dose-sparing, which is especially relevant in underserved countries.”

He added that his team hoped to “do human clinical studies on transdermal delivery with our existing partners at Imperial College London, in preparation for final implementation.”

The project is funded by the Welsh Government Ser Cymru funding program, as well as by the European Regional Development Fund, the university also said.

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