Powdered Measles Vaccine Shows Promise in Human Trial

A powdered measles vaccine delivered by a puff of air triggered no adverse side effects during early human testing, and future clinical trials will likely establish its efficacy.

A powdered measles vaccine delivered by a puff of air triggered no adverse side effects during early human testing, and future clinical trials will likely establish its efficacy.

Results of the early-stage trial, which were published on November 28, 2014, in Vaccine, showed no adverse effects among 60 healthy men who received the powdered vaccine. Because the men were already immune to measles, pivotal phase 2 and 3 trials are needed to establish the vaccines’ effectiveness.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we test first in people who have already had the disease, or been injected earlier by needles with liquid vaccines,” said study co-author Robert Sievers, PhD, a professor in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, in a press release. “It is very good news that we encountered no problems.”

The phase 1 trial involved 3 groups of men and tested 2 delivery devices, the Aktiv-Dry PuffHaler and BD Technologies Solovent. Participants responded similarly within each group and demonstrated some immune response.

The next testing phase could include people who are not yet immune to measles, including women and children.

The dry delivery technique would eliminate the need for injections, liquid storage, and help mitigate challenges associated with vaccine contamination, the researchers said.

The powdered delivery system has a particular advantage in resource-starved areas, where clean water might not be available to reconstitute vaccines, and where storage can also be a concern, they added.

“You don’t need to worry about needles; you don’t need to worry about reconstituting vaccines with clean water; you don’t need to worry about disposal of sharps waste or other vaccine wastage issues; and dry delivery in cheaper,” Dr. Sievers said.

A $20 million grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health funded the research. The National Institutes of Health received the grant through the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative, which was created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.