If you received a COVID-19 vaccine, chances are you’ve also received a booster. Keeping track of vaccine schedules, and multiple trips to a clinic can be annoying, so wouldn’t it be great if you could just get a self-boosting vaccine? According to a recent Healthline article, that may soon be a reality. Scientists at MIT are experimenting with new drug delivery systems that employ time-release microparticles that can administer drugs into the bloodstream at staggered times. The releases could be spaced out anywhere from days to months.
If the technology works, it could change the way we think about more than just vaccines. It could also be applied to cancer drugs, biologics, and even insulin. To make the particles, the team engineered a new microfabrication technique using a biocompatible compound that has already been used in a medical setting for things like dissolvable sutures. The microparticles are shaped like single-serve coffee dispenser pods that house a drug payload. The “lids” can be made of different polymers that will release the drugs at specific intervals. If successful, the method could improve access for underserved communities, and increase compliance.