Scientists create the world's first Covid vaccine 'smart patch'

Swansea university team aims to have prototype ready by end of March

Scientists in the UK are developing the world’s first vaccine ‘smart patch’ that could allow patients to administer the dose themselves.

The device, similar to a nicotine patch, is placed on the arm and breaks through the skin using tiny microneedles.

It is hoped the new technology could inoculate in a less invasive way than a traditional hypodermic needle.

Researchers at Swansea University say the devices will be manufactured cheaply and easy to distribute, with scope to expand the project to cover other infectious diseases.

The aim is to have a prototype ready for clinical trials by the end of March and made available commercially within three years.

Project leader Dr Sanjiv Sharma said quick measuring of the vaccine’s effectiveness “will address an unmet clinical need and would provide an innovative approach to vaccine development”.

He said: “The real-time nature of the platform will mean rapid results allowing faster containment of the Covid-19 virus. This low-cost vaccine administration device will ensure a safe return to work and management of subsequent Covid-19 outbreak waves.

“We are currently getting the platform ready and we hope to do human clinical studies on transdermal delivery with our existing partners at Imperial College London, in preparation for final implementation.”

The project is being funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund.