Every childhood vaccine may go into a single jab

  • Baby being injected
  • A technology that could eventually see every childhood vaccine delivered in a single injection has been developed by US researchers.
  • Their one-shot solution stores the vaccine in microscopic capsules that release the initial dose and then boosters at specific times.
  • The approach has been shown to work in mouse studies, described in the journal Science.
  • The researchers say the technology could help patients around the world.
  • Childhood immunisations come with tears and screams. And there are a lot of them.
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib and hepatitis B at eight, 12 and 16 weeks.
  • Pneumococcal jab at eight weeks, 16 weeks and one year
  • Men B vaccine at eight weeks, 16 weeks and one year
  • Hib/Men C vaccine at one year
  • Measles, mumps and rubella at one year and three years and four months
  • A team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has designed a new type of micro-particle that could combine everything into a single jab.
  • The particles look like miniature coffee cups that are filled with vaccine and then sealed with a lid.
  • Crucially, the design of the cups can be altered so they break down and spill their contents at just the right time.
  • One set of tests showed the contents could be released at exactly nine, 20 and 41 days after they were injected into mice.
  • Other particles that last for hundreds of days have also been developed, the researchers say.
  • The approach has not yet been tested on patients.
  • ‘Significant impact’
  • Prof Robert Langer, from MIT, said: “We are very excited about this work.
  • “For the first time, we can create a library of tiny, encased vaccine particles, each programmed to release at a precise, predictable time, so that people could potentially receive a single injection that, in effect, would have multiple boosters already built into it.
  • “This could have a significant impact on patients everywhere, especially in the developing world.”
  • The work differs from previous attempts, which slowly released medicines over a long period of time.
  • The idea is the short, sharp bursts of vaccine more closely mimic routine immunisation programmes.
  • Fellow researcher Dr Kevin McHugh said: “In the developing world, that might be the difference between not getting vaccinated and receiving all of your vaccines in one shot.”