- Painful injections could soon be replaced by a 'vaccine
shampoos' after a radical discovery in the way that the body,s immune system
- Scientists have developed the shampoo after finding that
the surface of the skin offers a better immune response than an injection
into the flesh.
- Professor Tang Dechu, a dermatologist at the University
of Alabama, said the new treatment had revolutionised traditional thinking
about vaccines. "We envisage that vaccines applied directly onto the
skin will become the main way of vaccinating people in future. Injecting
with a needle is painful and less effective.
- "It would be really useful in Third World countries,
(it avoids the need for medical personnel, who are in short supply, and
eliminates possible transmission of HIV through needles."
- His research, to be published in the journal Nature Medicine,
showed that one of the skin,s main functions is to act as a barrier to
germs, so it contains countless immune cells that need stimulating.
- "The skin is not just a sack to prevent your organs
falling on the floor. It is constantly reacting to germs," he said.
- The skin is so effective at repelling outside substances
that a normal vaccine cannot be absorbed, but Professor Tang discovered
a virus which, linked with the vaccine, safely acts as a 'carrier', allowing
the vaccine to penetrate the skin.
- The US Navy has given Professor Tang £2 million
to pay for human trials, after trials in which he successfully vaccinated
monkeys for influenza, hepatitis B, rabies, tetanus and malaria using this
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