Friday, September 28, 2007

New Weapon for Flu Pandemic: Jello Shots Up Your Nose!

This article is from US - PharmaTechnologist. No real comments save I think this is pretty neat. It will definately help with flu shots, as a number of people hate needles. It could be kind of gross however, if the jelly stays to long! Everyone laughed at me in college, but I knew investing in an aloe vera farm would pay off one day!

No wobbles for jelly nasal spray vaccine
By Katrina Megget

9/27/2007 - It is not the same as jellied pig's trotters, but a jelly nose has the 'exciting potential' to be the next weapon in the arsenal against pandemic flu.

Researchers at Texas A&M University, in conjunction with DelSite Biotechnologies, are working on a pandemic flu vaccine based on a powder nasal spray that forms a jelly in the nose.

While still at animal trial level, studies have so far shown the jelly substance that forms in the nose after spraying keeps the vaccine antigen in the nasal passage for longer giving the immune system a greater and prolonged stimulus.

"When this powder vaccine is puffed into the nose, it forms a jelly-like substance that clings to the inside of the nose and is absorbed into the body much more effectively. It stays longer and it has more time to do its work," Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences pathobiology professor Dr Ian Tizard said.

The vaccine is formulated using an undisclosed carbohydrate from the Aloe vera plant which is mixed with the vaccine component and dried together to form a powder.

On contact with the moisture of the nasal passage, the powder is reconstituted; dissolving the product and interacting with the carbohydrate to form a jelly.

"This powder form is more effective than a liquid spray because the nose tends to clear liquid sprays out, while the powder turns into a sticky gel and can be a much more potent vaccine," Tizard said.

One or two puffs into the nose was all that was needed to get results. The length of time the jelly would stay in a human nose was currently unknown.

The unique Aloe vera carbohydrate was yet to be approved as an excipient in the vaccine, but meetings with authorities were expected next month to discuss the ingredient, Tizard told

The carbohydrate is extracted from the leaves of the Aloe vera through a number of extraction steps thereby removing the other beneficially therapeutic compounds the plant is famous for.

"There is no other evidence the carbohydrate has any other effect other than reducing clearance from the nose," Tizard said.

Besides being retained in the nose for longer in the jelly form, the vaccine had other benefits Tizard said, including being a needle-free vaccine, being formulated as a dry powder which was more stable and could be stored for longer, and showing "significant dose sparing relative to other intranasal vaccines" without the use of an adjuvant.

The vaccine was currently being developed for pandemic bird flu, but Tizard said the technology could work to develop vaccines for other diseases.

"The plan was to try this first as a vaccine for bird flu in humans because there was an immediate concern there, and there still is the possibility that a widespread bird flu epidemic could break out somewhere in the world. But there is no reason to think this method of vaccine treatment would not work for many other diseases too. We think it's an exciting breakthrough that has great potential," Tizard said.

While the development of the vaccine was still early, tests on humans were expected to begin next year.

MedImmune has had its liquid nasal spray flu vaccine, FluMist, on the market since 2003, which was the first needle-free flu vaccine available on the market, and the company is developing a next generation nasal mist flu vaccine.

The nose jelly project is funded in part by a $6m grant from the National Institutes of Health awarded to DelSite Biotechnologies in conjunction with the Texas A&M teams.

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