Needles are never fun. They hurt, they can cause infection and in some unfortunate cases, they can spread disease. That’s why researchers are developing an inhalable measles vaccine for the developing world, where clean needles aren’t always available. The vaccine, which is under development at CU Boulder, will begin human testing this summer.
Here’s how it works: researchers combine “supercritical” CO2 with a weakened measles virus, producing bubbles and drops that dry when warm nitrogen is applied. This dried vaccine can be inhaled through a small circular opening in a plastic sack, sending the protective powder into the patient’s lungs.
The first phase of human testing will begin in Pune, India, with 180 patients getting the powder. If all goes well, CU Boulder researchers might use the technique to produce vaccines for other diseases, including cervical cancer and tuberculosis.