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Contact: Sue-Lane Wood, 206.285.3500, suelanewood@path.org

Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funds next phase of project

Seattle, March 26, 2008—As knowledge grows about the transmission of bloodborne diseases through unsafe injection practices, safe injection technologies have become an increased priority in the global health community. Today PATH announced that it has received a $9.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue its work on disposable-cartridge, needle-free jet injectors, which use a sterile, single-dose cartridge to deliver a high-speed stream of pressurized vaccine. The project will focus on determining the benefits of using jet injectors in immunization programs in developing countries.

Disposable-cartridge jet injectors have been developed to prevent cross-contamination between patient injections. Unlike other technologies, these injectors require no change in vaccine formulation and can be filled from multidose and single-dose vials at the point of use. This technology is currently the only available needle-free technology that can be used to administer all injectable vaccines at all depths of delivery (intradermal, subcutaneous, and intramuscular).

With the new grant, PATH will continue to collaborate closely with industry developers of jet injectors to determine regulatory, clinical, and commercialization pathways necessary to ensure that the technologies remain affordable and adaptable for low-infrastructure immunization settings worldwide. Potentially, the majority of immunizations could be given with this technology, and there are many possible benefits to public health programs: needle-free jet injectors eliminate the safety hazards of needlestick injury and needle reuse, and they significantly reduce the costs associated with complicated sharps waste disposal systems.

Additionally, PATH will explore the feasibility of using disposable-cartridge jet injectors to deliver reduced doses of vaccine intradermally—directly under the skin. Past and present research on intradermal delivery indicates that this method could allow a reduction in the cost of each vaccination and thus increase coverage for vaccines that are in short supply due to limited production capacity.