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Needle-free anthrax vaccine shows promise in animal studies

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 25 Researchers have developed a powdered form of an anthrax vaccine that could potentially be inhaled through the nose and eliminate the need for needle injections. The new vaccine, which appears promising in preliminary animal studies, may offer a faster and easier way to protect the general population as well as soldiers on the battlefield in the event of a deadly bioterror attack, the researchers say.

The development, a joint project of BD Technologies and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease, was described today at the 228th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

The vaccine represents a growing pipeline of needle-free drug delivery technologies that are being developed for consumers, such as the FluMistTMintranasal vaccine currently sold to combat influenza. Considered the next generation anthrax vaccine, the new formulation is based on an anthrax recombinant protective antigen (rPA) and can be formulated as a dry powder and self-administered through the nose using a novel, disposable powder delivery device, the researchers say.

The standard delivery for anthrax vaccination is through subcutaneous and intramuscular administration of a liquid formula using conventional needles and syringes, but this method has several drawbacks when employed for mass vaccination, including accidental needle-stick injury, the need for highly trained healthcare professionals and painful injections, the scientists say.

"Our intranasal powder vaccine discovery may provide a highly effective, more flexible, mobile and easy-to-use method of administering the anthrax vaccine in clinical and field settings," says the project's lead investigator, Vince Sullivan, Ph.D., a chemist with BD Technologies' Advanced Drug Delivery group in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

The vaccine has not yet been tested in humans, and addit
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