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Rubbing takes the pain away

点击量:   时间:2017-08-01 08:02:10

By Michael Day CONNING your kids that their mumps jab won’t hurt could soon be unnecessary. Researchers in the US say that a technique that allows vaccines to be absorbed through the skin could lead to needleless immunisations within ten years. Gregory Glenn and his colleagues at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington DC report in this week’s Nature (vol 391, p 851) that adding cholera toxin to diphtheria and tetanus vaccines enables rats to absorb the vaccines through the skin. After applying the mixtures to the skin of rats, the researchers detected strong antibody responses to the diphtheria and tetanus pathogens. Their subsequent research suggests that this type of vaccination might work against a wide range of diseases. Scientists already knew cholera toxin acts as an “adjuvant”, a compound used to boost the immune response to vaccines. Glenn says the toxin activates special cells in the skin, called antigen presenting cells, which are vital for the production of antibodies. “We hope this will open up a whole new method of vaccine administration,” says Glenn. “This could be extremely important in the developing world, where trained staff and clean needles aren’t always at hand. As a paediatrician,