Bioneedle Drug Delivery has commissioned a new production line for the bioneedles, a vaccination system in which a hollow needle filled with vaccine is shot into the skin with air pressure. This makes vaccination simpler, faster and safer. The line was built by technology developer and producer Demcon in Enschede. Demcon acts as a development and production partner for the innovative Bioneedle technology, says Bioneedle in a press release.
Bioneedle Drug Delivery, headquartered at the Leiden Bio Science Park, was formed in 2004 by biologist and vet Gijsbert van de Wijdeven. He had discovered a new method of vaccination, using ready-made bioneedles made of biodegradable material. The hollow needles are filled with high concentrations of medicines or vaccines that are stabilized by the material, which increases their shelf life and means that they need no refrigeration. The needles are injected subcutaneously (under the skin) or into a muscle with an applicator that works with compressed air. The body fluids present dissolve the needle within a few minutes, so that the medicine/vaccine is delivered fast.
Clean and painless
This injection method is simple, fast and safe, and works more efficiently than the conventional method with syringes, needles and bottles. The advantages include the fact that injection is clean and painless, that no used disposable syringes are left over and that there is no need to refrigerate the medicine/vaccine. The transportation and storage volumes are also lower, by a factor of 160, which means that enormous cost savings can be realized.
Large-scale vaccination campaigns
At the time, due to complex regulations, veterinary application of the bioneedle proved not to be feasible. Van de Wijdeven therefore focused on human healthcare, partly at the request of the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO saw potential for large-scale vaccination campaigns because there was no need for refrigeration. This makes logistics far simpler, which is important in developing countries with limited infrastructure, and in the case of pandemics such as Covid-19, it is of global importance.
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