Researchers Discover New Class Of Sound Wave, Use It To Create Inhalable ‘Supervaccine’

Researchers have discovered an entirely new class of sound wave that is being used for a variety of biomedical purposes, including an inhalable “supervaccine” that can deliver vaccines and other medicines directly to the lungs in record time. The new class of sound wave is a combination of bulk waves and surface waves that is powerful yet gentle, making it perfect for biomedical purposes.

The Daily Mail reports that scientists have discovered a new type of sound wave that is a combination of two previously known types of sound wave, bulk waves and surface waves. The new sound waves are being called “surface reflected bulk waves” and are already being put to use in the medical field. The scientists working with the new sound wave class have already successfully used the process to administer inhalable vaccines to patients.

Dr. Amgad Rezk, from RMIT’s Micro/Nano Research Laboratory, says the inhalable vaccines go straight to the lungs via a nebulizer and are much quicker than other inhalable methods.

“We have used the new sound waves to slash the time required for inhaling vaccines through the nebuliser device, from 30 minutes to as little as 30 seconds.”

The researchers say that the “surface reflected bulk waves” could be used to administer needle-free vaccine to infants and children for a pain-free experience. The “surface reflected bulk waves” are gentle yet powerful and can administer vaccines and medicines much faster than a traditional nebulizer. In fact, the new sound wave class was able to break down the liquid into a vapor at a rate of 5 ml per minute compared to current nebulizer capability of 0.2 ml per minute.

“As a result, instead of administering or nebulising medicine at around 0.2ml per minute, we did up to 5ml per minute. That’s a huge difference.”

Therefore, the researchers used the new sound wave capabilities to create a faster nebulizer called Respite. The unit can be used for a variety of biomedical purposes from medication inhalation to vaccines. However, the researchers hope to soon use the new sound wave to nebulize stem cells directly into the lungs. The scientists says that stem cells are notoriously fragile and must be transferred gently. The “surface reflected bulk waves” are gentle enough to administer the stem cells and could potentially offer a future that includes nebulizing stem cells directly into the lungs.

So exactly how do the “surface reflected bulk waves” work in regards to nebulizing liquids? The researchers compare it to “yelling” at a liquid until it breaks down.

“It’s basically ‘yelling’ at the liquid so it vibrates, breaking it down into vapor.”

Currently, scientists are creating the new sound wave class by converting electricity to surface reflected bulk waves. The process is completed in a device called HYDRA.

According to Science Daily, the new class of sound wave is the first discovered in more than half a century. The discovery was made by a team at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, with the findings published on January 7, 2016, in the journal Advanced Materials. The full alert from the research team can be viewed here.

What do you think about a potential “supervaccine” that is inhaled by patients? Do you think the discovery will revolutionize the health care system by offering quicker and more effective nebulizing treatments?

[Image via AP]