For the first recorded time, researchers have been able to use a live vaccine delivery system that is dry as opposed to a liquid injection – never before has this method been deemed powerful enough to get the vaccination process going. What are the implications?

Poorer countries have problems with vaccinations due to the fact that they generally have to be kept refrigerated, thus getting viable vaccines into these areas in a dry format is a great solution. While this process is still early on in the research period it is still an exciting prospect – the process is also cheaper than having to use a needle and eliminates concerns about the proper disposal of used hypodermic needles.

Three of the world’s largest health enemies are HIV, TB, and Malaria, and these diseases are most common in poorer areas. This means that while the search for vaccinations looks promising, the prospect of getting live vaccines into locations that need them most remains a challenge – a lack of proper refrigeration could leave the vaccines no longer viable by the time of use.

The research team used tiny needles made of sugar as an entry system – these needles would dissolve upon entering the skin and introducing the dry vaccine. The dry vaccine is in the shape of a tiny disc, and stays live even at normal room temperature.

This study has shown that it is possible to maintain a live vaccine without refrigeration – thus when HIV and other much needed vaccines are finally ready, there may also be a process in hand to get such vaccines to the remotest parts of even the poorest underdeveloped nations.

In the meantime, while those vaccines are still being developed this technology will have other applications in the medical field – vaccinating infants would certainly be easier with this technique. It may also have applications in the field of autoimmune disease and chronic conditions like diabetes.