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Delivering Covid Vaccines This Way May Provide Better Protection Than Needles: Study

Vaccines are people's best bet against COVID-19 but a new study has found that they can provide better protection if delivered by using the suctioning technique.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : November 9, 2021 1:04 PM IST

In the last two years, coronavirus has been a nightmare for the world which has been adversely affected by the spread of this debilitating disease. After numerous lockdowns and measures to fight COVID-19, vaccines came as a boon amid the chaos. But reports of waning immunity after only a few months of getting the jab led people to believe that the vaccines are not as effective as the authorities claim them to be despite them constantly proving the claims wrong. But a new study has found a way that could further increase the protection levels offered by COVID vaccines.

But Suctioning COVID Vaccine May Provide Better Protection Than Needles

According to researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey, suctioning vaccines for Covid-19 may help develop larger antibody levels and provide more protection than standard needles. Traditional immunizations are not automatically absorbed by cells when injected into the arm. Some of it even degrades before it reaches the cells, allowing the body to develop an immunological response. As per the study researchers, using suction on the skin right after the shot would put tension on the skin, forcing cells to absorb the vaccine on their own. As per the study published in the journal Science Advances, a suctioning vaccine is easier and less expensive to make, and it can be distributed more broadly than present vaccines.

The Research

For the study, the researchers tested a new sort of virus immunization based on cupping, an old style of treatment in which heated special cups are placed on the skin for a few minutes to produce suction following a COVID shot. They discovered that when rodents were given the vaccine through suction, antibody levels were millions of times higher than when they were given the vaccine by injection.

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Dr Hao Lin, a professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Rutgers, in a statement, said, "This suction-based technique is implemented by applying moderate negative pressure to the skin after nucleic acid injection in a totally non-invasive manner. This method enables an easy-to-use, cost-effective and highly-scalable platform for both laboratory and clinical applications for nucleic-acid-based therapeutics and vaccines."

One set of rats received two injections of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate from GeneOne Life Science in South Korea. Another group had a single injection followed by a single suction, while a third group received two injections and two suctions. Antibody levels were two million to five million times greater in the two suction groups than in the injection-only group, according to the findings.

"We have demonstrated an alternative, safe and effective transfection platform that yields high levels of transgene expression. Because of the inherent advantages of DNA, not least of which is avoiding cold-chain requirements of other vaccines, this technology facilitates vaccination programmes into remote regions of the world where resources are limited," Lin noted.

(with inputs from agencies)

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