ASA Monitor February 2024, Vol. 88, 16.
Microarray patch for Zika virus
Researchers are developing a needle-free vaccine patch to protect against the Zika virus. The prototype utilizes the University of Queensland’s high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP), delivering a vaccine developed by the University of Adelaide and generating an effective immune response in mice. The HD-MAP is described as a pain-free, simple-to-apply, and easy-to-store vaccination method, delivering the vaccine to immune cells beneath the skin’s surface with microprojections. In preclinical trials, the vaccine provided rapid protection against live Zika virus, targeting a crucial protein called NS1. The vaccine’s unique targeting of the NS1 protein inside the virus minimizes the risk of enhancing symptoms in people vaccinated against closely related viruses like dengue fever. Targeting a protein crucial to the replication of flaviviruses, the approach has the potential to extend to other flaviviruses like dengue or Japanese encephalitis. The vaccine patch evoked T-cell responses about 270% higher than traditional needle or syringe delivery methods. The HD-MAP platform also offers vaccine stability at elevated temperatures, retaining potency even when stored at 40° Celsius for up to four weeks. This is significant for vaccine distribution in low- and middle-income countries where refrigeration may be a challenge.