Cristyn Davies, a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine and Health and Kids Research, said the trials aim to simulate vaccination in a pandemic situation, focusing on priority groups susceptible to infection such as the elderly, and healthcare workers who are required to care for infectious patients.
“The studies will use an excipient, an inactive substance which is of the same texture as a vaccine, to test the effectiveness of the device at delivery of the substance into the skin.”
“With older populations, we are particularly interested to see how the technology works with those with aged, delicate skin. In both groups, we will test whether it’s feasible and acceptable for them to self-administer the patch, which could prove critical for many populations during a pandemic situation.”
Professor Rachel Skinner said that the new studies build on earlier studies carried out by the team in 2019-2020 to test the usability and acceptability of the device among parents, clinicians and immunisation nurses at Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, and assess cost-benefits on logistical parameters like supply chain, compared to conventional immunisation. The results are yet to be published.
David Chuter, CEO and Managing Director of IMCRC, highlighted the importance of the studies in expediting the refinement of the design and manufacturing of the device.
“With Vaxxas planning to begin manufacturing the new needle-free vaccine delivery technology by early 2022, this IMCRC research project is vital to refine the device and fast-track its commercialisation process. These studies will assess the safety and acceptability of managing this technology within the healthcare community, with the results being fed back into the design and manufacturing process which is currently set up in Australia.”
Charles Ross, Head of Clinical Operations and Supply at Vaxxas said the collaboration with the University of Sydney brings world class practical vaccination and clinical trial experience to complement the capabilities of the Vaxxas research team.
“The distribution of vaccines and the requirements for successful vaccination uptake are critical success factors in a pandemic vaccination campaign. We are excited to be working with experts from the University of Sydney to assess the impact our revolutionary and simplified approach to vaccination can have on the logistics and acceptability of the vaccination process in a close to real-world situation”.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, perhaps more than ever before, the crucial role our researchers play in innovation in the healthcare sector. Investment in projects such as this is vital and will ensure the continued strength of medical research in Australia,” said Professor Ward.
The University of Sydney and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network research team led by Professor Rachel Skinner includes Research Fellow Cristyn Davies, Professor Robert Booy and Associate Professor Nicholas Wood.