Professor Mark Kendall of Queensland University in Australia has developed a new format for producing and delivering vaccines using nano-technology. He and his team have created a patch that is applied topically, much like a stamp. It does not require medical supervision, is very low cost (estimated at $1 per patch), and most importantly does not require refrigeration. Self-administering provides at-risk populations without appropriate medical services the life saving vaccines to protect themselves and their family.
There are a number of noteworthy aspects of this innovation. The first is the easy with which the patch allows anyone to apply a vaccine to themselves. One could see this technology being applied to other topical medications. By removing the need for a medical practitioner, remote communities could potentially link with doctors via satellite videos, who could prescribe an easy to use medication. Vaccination campaigns could cut their logistical costs by shipping only vaccines and not personnel. The $1 price tag speaks for itself, but by eliminating the need for refrigeration, further costs would be saved.
The nano-patch is currently being tested in Papua New Guinea on hospital patients. Kendall estimates that the nano-patch requires another ten years before it will be ready for the market. Given the little information we have on the innovation, it’s difficult to foresee its limitations. One could speculate that the patch’s shelf life could not be long as desired or that costs of manufacturing are higher than anticipated.
Mark Kendall and his innovation have recently won the Rolex Award for Enterprise.
Professor Mark Kendall of the Queensland University