One-time delivery of bovine tuberculosis vaccine

Ferry Melchels, Jayne Hope, Vicki Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Vaccination is one of the most effective and economic ways of fighting infectious diseases. To provide long-lasting immunity, well-timed booster shots are indispensable. Providing the necessary booster shots at the required times presents a large challenge, in humans as well as in wildlife and livestock vaccinations.

We aim at using 3D printing with newly developed biomaterials as a solution for the delayed release of vaccine booster shots. Tubular capsules are prepared that are inserted under the skin together with the first injection. The capsule contains the vaccine as well as a sugar solution. The sugar will attract water inflow through the capsule wall by osmosis, leading to pressure build-up and eventually bursting of the capsule, and delivery of the vaccine booster. By carefully tailoring the material properties and capsule design, we aim to achieve release at the desired time-point, without needing any intervention. This will omit the need for a second visit to the doctor or a second visit from the vet; it will even allow to vaccinate wildlife without having to recapture the animals to give them their booster shots. We have already demonstrated this principle of osmosis-mediated delivery, from polymer capsules prepared by a simple dip coating technique. In this project we take the next step: preparing these capsules using stereolithography fabrication, a form of 3D printing, to achieve a more precise, reproducible and reliable release. Once we have demonstrated the ability to tune the release, we will apply our technology to deliver booster shots against tuberculosis in cattle. Before using the capsules in animals, we will show that the capsules are safe to use by culturing cells on them in a dish, and test for toxicity and inflammation.

Our technology in-development can help solve many problems, including the timely delay of vaccines, antibiotics, chemotherapeutics and other drugs, both in animals and humans. In this project we will take the first step by developing and testing the capsules, and applying them to fight tuberculosis in cattle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-8
Number of pages3
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018


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