Feb, 2021 - By WMR
A new injectable hydrogel vaccine, can now act for a longer period of time, making it more potent.
Vaccines reduce risks of getting a disease by working with body’s natural defenses to build protection. Some vaccines aren't very powerful due to least amount of time they are active when injected within the body. These vaccine works by training the immune system to recognize and combat pathogens, either viruses or bacteria. Some molecules from the pathogens must be introduced into the body in order to activate an immune system. These molecules are antigens, which are obtained from a dead version of the targeted virus. The immune system responds by producing antibodies that target those antigens. However, the body is activated to the antigens in liquid vaccines for a shorter period which is a day or two. On the contrary, in the event of an actual infection by a live virus, the antigen exposure period is more than two weeks. This gives the immune system a longer time to produce antibodies.
A team of Scientist from Stanford University experimented a hydrogel vaccine containing minute particles of a biocompatible polymer. That gel was then mixed with viral antigens, along with an adjuvant – the latter is another key ingredient of vaccines, which helps stimulate the immune system into action. This mixture was experimented under the skin of lab mice that produced an inflamed area. This area attracted immune cells while also releasing the antigens and adjuvant over a period of several days. Over a long period of time, greater number of antibodies were produced by the mice. Compared to a traditionally vaccinated mice, experimented mice produced greater number of antibodies that had roughly 1000 fold higher affinity for the antigens. Which means they would be that much more successful at targeting them.
Furthermore, the scientists now plan on seeing how effective the hydrogel technology is at protecting recipients from specific diseases.