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Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2012;351:77-112. doi: 10.1007/82_2011_123.

Delivery systems for intradermal vaccination.

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School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.


Intradermal (ID) vaccination can offer improved immunity and simpler logistics of delivery, but its use in medicine is limited by the need for simple, reliable methods of ID delivery. ID injection by the Mantoux technique requires special training and may not reliably target skin, but is nonetheless used currently for BCG and rabies vaccination. Scarification using a bifurcated needle was extensively used for smallpox eradication, but provides variable and inefficient delivery into the skin. Recently, ID vaccination has been simplified by introduction of a simple-to-use hollow microneedle that has been approved for ID injection of influenza vaccine in Europe. Various designs of hollow microneedles have been studied preclinically and in humans. Vaccines can also be injected into skin using needle-free devices, such as jet injection, which is receiving renewed clinical attention for ID vaccination. Projectile delivery using powder and gold particles (i.e., gene gun) have also been used clinically for ID vaccination. Building off the scarification approach, a number of preclinical studies have examined solid microneedle patches for use with vaccine coated onto metal microneedles, encapsulated within dissolving microneedles or added topically to skin after microneedle pretreatment, as well as adapting tattoo guns for ID vaccination. Finally, technologies designed to increase skin permeability in combination with a vaccine patch have been studied through the use of skin abrasion, ultrasound, electroporation, chemical enhancers, and thermal ablation. The prospects for bringing ID vaccination into more widespread clinical practice are encouraging, given the large number of technologies for ID delivery under development.

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