We all know that flu shots are a necessary evil. While microneedle patches are replacing traditional injection procedures, patients still have to undergo numerous follow-ups. Now, MIT engineers are looking to eliminate the need for multiple booster shots with an advanced micropod technology.
“We are very excited about this work because, for the first time, we can create a library of tiny, encased vaccine particles, each programmed to release at a precise, predictable time, so that people could potentially receive a single injection that, in effect, would have multiple boosters already built into it,”
The pods, described as “tiny coffee cups” consist of an already FDA-approved material. For kicks, it’s called poly lactic-co-glycolic acid. Or just PLGA, really. The micropods have the potential to be practical in other ways, especially over long periods of time.
“The… technique could provide a new platform that can create nearly any tiny, fillable object with nearly any material, which could provide unprecedented opportunities in manufacturing in medicine and other areas,”
Because immune cells die over time and patient compliance when it comes to vaccines is low, the micropods are practically genius. Let’s face it — hospitals aren’t exactly the place to be.
The medicine industry is booming, thanks to new technologies like bendable batteries and injectable bandages. While these new discoveries can treat cancer and repair organs, some researchers are working on improving older remedies. The US National Institutes of Health and Sanofi have combined antibodies into tri-specific antibodies targeting HIV infection.
“They are more potent and have greater breadth than any single naturally occurring antibody that’s been discovered.” [said Dr. Gary Nabel of Sanofi.]
“We’re getting 99% coverage, and getting coverage at very low concentrations of the antibody,”
HIV strains mutate faster than immune systems can adapt, making resistance almost futile. Animal trials saw a 100% success rate in monkeys, while human trials will begin next year.
“Combinations of antibodies that each bind to a distinct site on HIV may best overcome the defences of the virus in the effort to achieve effective antibody-based treatment and prevention.”
Further testing may prove the usefulness of tri-specific antibodies in other fields. The battle against HIV is far from over, but it’s safe to say we’re getting there, one antibody at a time.
As new medicine continues to break ground, healthy life hacks are bringing to light the strangest ingredients. From avocado husks to curry powder, the spectrum of power foods seems never-ending. The fact of the matter is — there are no limitations. In a recent study, a team at the Rockefeller University (literally) unearthed a previously undiscovered antibiotic in soil samples.
Tests show the compounds, called malacidins, annihilate several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA.
With over 700,000 people falling victim to drug-resistant diseases a year, the discovery is a huge sigh of relief. Gene sequencing proved the antidote’s ability to cure skin wounds. However exciting, the wait is going to be a long one.
Dr. [Sean] Brady said: “It is impossible to say when, or even if, an early stage antibiotic discovery like the malacidins will proceed to the clinic.
“It is a long, arduous road from the initial discovery of an antibiotic to a clinically used entity.”
In the meantime, stick to moisturizer, people — flower pot dirt won’t do you any good.