Australian Biotech Company to Produce 300 Million Micro-Array Vaccine Patches to Treat Flu and Potentially Covid-19
(by James Hall | The West Australian) – Queensland biotech company Vaxxas will develop and manufacture needle-free vaccines as health authorities stress the significance of booster Covid-19 jabs.
The “world-leading” technology will be warmly welcomed for those with needle phobias, but Vaxxas chief operations officer Angus Forster said its simple application was ideal for underdeveloped countries and remote communities.
The dosage is administered through a “high density micro-array patch”, which is applied to the skin for 10 seconds at a depth of just a quarter of a millimetre.
“Our clinical research shows this elicits a more efficient and effective immune response than traditional syringes due to the abundance of immune cells immediately below the surface of the skin,” he said.
“There’s also the opportunity to make the transportation of vaccines to rural and remote communities much easier as the vaccine patch can be stored at temperatures as high as 40ºC.”
The patches will initially be used for influenza vaccines, with the intention to be rolled out for a variety of jabs, including the Covid-19 vaccines.
Construction had begun on the company’s manufacturing facility in Hamilton, in Brisbane’s north, which is expected to be completed by 2023 with support from the Queensland government, Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.
Once the manufacturing plant is up and running, Vaxxas will produce 300 million vaccine doses each year.
“An existing warehouse here at Northshore, Brisbane, will be refurbished and transformed into a state-of-the-art biomedical manufacturing facility, creating more than 80 jobs during construction” Mr Miles said.
“Over the next 10 years, this rate of production is expected to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the Queensland economy.
“Vaxxas will employ up to 110 high-skilled biomedical experts when operating in early 2023. This could grow to more than 139 new jobs over five years, which will go a long way in securing Queensland as a globally competitive Asia-Pacific biomedical hub.”
The reliance on vaccines will continue as the pandemic evolves, with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer revealing two shots of its jab may not be enough to protect against the Omicron variant.
Pfizer on Wednesday announced the results from an initial laboratory study had indicated three doses of the vaccine might be needed to create enough antibodies to “neutralise” the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
The results showed that sera, a fluid obtained from separating blood, from individuals who received two doses of the current Covid-19 vaccine exhibited, on average, more than a “25-fold reduction in neutralisation titers against the Omicron variant compared to wild-type”.