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Keywords:

  • drug delivery;
  • functional coatings;
  • biomedical applications;
  • vaccine delivery

Abstract

Densely packed dry-coated microprojections are shown to deliver vaccines to targeted locations within the skin that are rich in immune cells, thus inducing protective immune responses against a lethal virus challenge. Selectively limiting the antigen coating to the tips of the projections, which penetrate the skin, would significantly reduce the amount of vaccine required in immunization. In this paper a simple technique, dip-coating the microprojections, is introduced to meet this goal. By increasing the coating solution viscosity, an otherwise strong capillary action is mitigated and the desired controlled coating length on projections is achieved. Following application to the skin, most of the coated vaccine material is rapidly released from the projections (82.6% in mass within 2 min) to the target locations within the skin strata and a potent immune response is induced when a conventional influenza vaccine (Fluvax) is tested in a mouse model. The utility of this coating approach to a variety of molecules representative of vaccines (e.g., chicken egg ovalbumin (OVA) protein, DNA, and fluorescent dyes) is demonstrated. These collective attributes, together with the simplicity of the approach, position the dip-coating method for practical utility in large vaccination campaigns.