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WEDNESDAY, March 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Nasal-spray vaccines that don't require refrigeration -- which are still in the experimental stage -- could help protect people in remote regions from future disease outbreaks, according to a researcher.
Most current vaccines require needles, refrigeration and booster shots, which can complicate their use. Refrigeration isn't available in some poor areas of the world, which means many people most in need of vaccinations aren't getting them.
"Our nanovaccines can be stored at room temperature for as long as six to 10 months and still work," Balaji Narasimhan, a professor of chemical engineering at Iowa State University, said in a society news release.
"Also, we're designing them so they get delivered in one dose through a nasal spray, which could potentially allow patients to give the vaccine to themselves," said Narasimhan, the project's lead researcher.
The new nanovaccines affect a different part of the immune system than current vaccines. They could also prove more effective in fighting emerging and re-emerging diseases, such as whooping cough, according to the news release.
They have been shown to be effective in rodents, and the researchers are moving on to tests in larger animals, Narasimhan said. Experts note, however, that results achieved in animal studies often aren't able to be replicated in humans.
"Our nanovaccine approach could be instrumental for containing future outbreaks of recently emerged and re-emerging diseases, such as SARS, new flu strains and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis," Narasimhan said.
Data and conclusions presented at meetings typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
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