Pollen, the common cause of allergies, may be used to deliver vaccines in the future!
Vaccines help to prevent a number of diseases. They are important for defense personnel who have to travel to areas where infectious diseases are prevalent. However, these people may not always have adequate facilities to deliver injectable vaccines. Under such circumstances, an oral vaccine would be a blessing in disguise.
AdvertisementHarvinder Gill, an Indian-origin chemical engineer at Texas Tech University, is developing a vaccine pill from small pollen grains that could help to deliver vaccines.
Gill tried to harness the power and potential of pollen's ingredient. The outer shell of pollen contains a polymer that is capable of surviving the acids and digestive enzymes of human stomach. The outer shell can be emptied of the allergy-producing substances and filled with vaccines, which can be administered orally.
The innovative vaccine developed at the Texas Tech University can be used by military troops without assistance. The research is funded by US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The researchers have not been successful in formulating vaccine pills capable of surviving for long durations in the human body.
DARPA adopted Gill's project and committed itself to make battleground medicine both more effective and easier for military troops.
DARPA has developed 'miniaturized bio-chip versions of human body parts and organs for quick drug testing'.
The vaccine will definitely be a boon as its administration does not require any trained medical personnel and is devoid of associated pain.