Measles Vaccine May Soon Be Available In A Dry Inhalable Powder

Dawn Papple

Research has been underway for years aiming to bring the world a dry, inhalable measles vaccine. A dry, inhalable measles vaccine would make transporting and administering the measles vaccine easier. Early trials on humans have just been completed, and the results are published in the medical journal Vaccine.

In 2013, measles killed 145,700 of the world's estimated seven billion people, according to Tech Times, and the creators of the dry, inhalable measles vaccine hope to reduce that number further with the new medical advancement.

Robert Sievers, CEO of Aktiv-Dry, co-authored the recently published study along with several other scientists, including some of his employees. Sievers is also from the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Colorado, where the press release was issued. Additionally, co-authors included researchers from the Serum Institute of India, Ltd. as well as scientists from "an Indian medical college; a North Carolina medical technology company; and the Georgia-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," the press release stated. The research was funded partially by a $20 million grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, by way of the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative. The Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Sievers says an inhalable dry measles vaccine will address some of the challenges of vaccination in areas where clean water may not be readily available. The dry powder used in this form of the measles vaccine reduces the chances of contamination and error during transport and administration.

Safety was tested on 60 adult males who already tested positive for measles antibodies, according to the abstract published on the Science Direct website. No adverse events were reported, according to the press release. The safety study examined the safety of the dry measles vaccine when delivered either using Aktiv-Dry's Puffhaler or BD Technologies' Solovent devices and compared their safety to the licensed injected measles vaccine.

"Adverse events (AEs) were recorded with diary cards until day 28 post-vaccination and subjects were followed for 180 days post-vaccination to assess potential serious long term adverse events," according to the study.

Effectiveness has not been established in humans yet, but has been demonstrated in animal studies. The scientists have also demonstrated that the dry inhalable measles vaccine can be stored for up to four years when refrigerated and up to six months at room temperature. Sievers and the rest of the research team will move on to the second and third phases of human trials and eventually determine how effective the inhalable dry measles vaccine will be in people.

[Photo via Aktiv-Dry]