BLUE BELL, PA—Rapid vaccination of military forces may be necessary with emerging infectious disease and pandemic threats, but injecting combination vaccines that are formulated together can sometimes result in immune interference.
In an effort to solve that dilemma, the DoD has issued a Small Business Innovation Research Grant to Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to test the feasibility of delivering DNA vaccines by intradermal electroporation simultaneously to two or more spatially distinct sites on the body.
“This device would provide a means to painlessly deliver multiple vaccines simultaneously, bringing improved protection against infectious diseases to both military and civilian populations,” said J. Joseph Kim, PhD., Inovio’s president & CEO. Inovio, based in Blue Bell, PA, develops therapeutic and preventive vaccines against cancers and infectious diseases.
Using Inovio’s latest introdermal DNA vaccine delivery technology, researchers will seek to determine the optimal spatial separation between vaccination sites on the body in order to avoid immune interference between multiple vaccines. During final testing, Lassa and Hantaan virus vaccines—two pathogens on the DOD list for biological countermeasures—will be delivered simultaneously at spatially distinct sites. Earlier studies have indicated that the two DNA vaccines are effective individually but can lose potency in combination.
Inovio’s vaccine administration technology is based on the company’s proprietary electroporation delivery platform, which uses millisecond electrical pulses to improve cellular uptake of the vaccine.
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With a long history of point of care testing at both of its predecessor organizations, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) laboratory services staff were keenly aware of the advantages of using portable testing devices to obtain rapid patient assessments.
The VA is leveraging its position as the country’s largest integrated healthcare system to slow the development and spread of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO).