Research ArticleVACCINATION

An oral microjet vaccination system elicits antibody production in rabbits

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Science Translational Medicine  08 Mar 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 380, eaaf6413
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf6413

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No one likes to be on the receiving end of a needle, which can make routine childhood vaccinations especially problematic. Aran et al. developed a needle-free drug delivery device that can be administered orally. The MucoJet device used a simple chemical reaction to deliver a jet of vaccine—in this case, ovalbumin—that penetrated the buccal mucosa when placed against the cheek inside the oral cavity in rabbits. The rabbits showed evidence of anti-ovalbumin antibodies in cheek tissue and ear vein blood draws up to 6 weeks after vaccination.


Noninvasive immunization technologies have the potential to revolutionize global health by providing easy-to-administer vaccines at low cost, enabling mass immunizations during pandemics. Existing technologies such as transdermal microneedles are costly, deliver drugs slowly, and cannot generate mucosal immunity, which is important for optimal immunity against pathogens. We present a needle-free microjet immunization device termed MucoJet, which is a three-dimensional microelectromechanical systems–based drug delivery technology. MucoJet is administered orally, placed adjacent to the buccal tissue within the oral cavity, and uses a self-contained gas-generating chemical reaction within its two-compartment plastic housing to produce a high-pressure liquid jet of vaccine. We show that the vaccine jet ejected from the MucoJet device is capable of penetrating the buccal mucosal layer in silico, in porcine buccal tissue ex vivo, and in rabbits in vivo. Rabbits treated with ovalbumin by MucoJet delivery have antibody titers of anti-ovalbumin immunoglobulins G and A in blood serum and buccal tissue, respectively, that are three orders of magnitude higher than rabbits receiving free ovalbumin delivered topically by a dropper in the buccal region. MucoJet has the potential to accelerate the development of noninvasive oral vaccines, given its ability to elicit antibody production that is detectable locally in the buccal tissue and systemically via the circulation.

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