Bacterial spores could replace hypodermic needles for vaccinations


October 24, 2012

The spores of the Bacillus subtilis (pictured above) have been implemented into a vaccine which is more affordable and safer to administer than injections

The spores of the Bacillus subtilis (pictured above) have been implemented into a vaccine which is more affordable and safer to administer than injections

Taking the “ouch” out of injections is a worthy endeavor, but what if they could be avoided entirely? New research conducted at Royal Holloway, University of London offers the hope of achieving just this, by using a bacterium to deliver a vaccine which can be administered via nasal spray, oral liquid, capsule, or small soluble film placed under the tongue, thus reducing the risk of spreading infectious diseases like HIV.

The research, led by Professor Simon Cutting from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, was conducted with the use of pro-biotic spores taken from the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, which Cutting cites as ideal vehicles for carrying antigens and promoting an immune response in the patient.

"Rather than requiring needle delivery, vaccines based on Bacillus spores can be delivered via a nasal spray, or as on oral liquid or capsule," explained Cutting. "Alternatively they can be administered via a small soluble film placed under the tongue, in a similar way to modern breath fresheners. As spores are exceptionally stable, vaccines based on Bacillus do not require cold-chain storage alleviating a further issue with current vaccine approaches.”

Cutting has performed pre-clinical evaluations of Bacillus-based vaccines for a number of diseases, including tuberculosis, influenza, and tetanus, but he also discovered that the technique could be applied to deliver a vaccine suitable for protecting against Clostridium difficile – a gastrointestinal infection responsible for approximately 50,000 infections, and 4,000 deaths per year in the UK, primarily in the elderly. Clostridium difficile currently has no vaccine, needle-based or otherwise.

To help bring the new vaccine technology to market, Cutting has teamed up with investors to form the company Holloway Immunology. To begin with, the company will focus on developing three lead vaccines: tuberculosis, Clostridium difficile, and influenza.

Source: Royal Holloway

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Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams
1 Comment

The problem is they will only work onc for each variant, we already have a viral anti cancer treatment which causes cancerous cells to self destruct. (

However this is a lot safer and effective than radioactive isotopes and chemical burning, the problem is we have a lot of very ineffective and expensive treatments, which in the UK lead to a survival rate at around 45% for all diagnosed forms.(

Hopefully bacterial infusions every 5-10 years for the most common 19 forms of tumor with an immunisation program against virus and bacterial vectors which cause tumors is the way to go as pioneered with the HPV virus. Prevention is better than cure, which in the case of cancer is only dormancy.

I wish the very best for the reserchers here.

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