Scancell taps PharmaJet for needle-free COVID-19 vaccine study

PharmaJet’s systems deliver vaccines intramuscularly, subcutaneously or intradermally. (libre de droit/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

With one study suggesting needle phobia may account for 10% of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, there is potential for alternative delivery routes to clear a barrier to vaccination. Scancell has advanced its effort to provide an alternative by tapping PharmaJet for needle-free delivery technologies. 

Oxford, U.K.-based Scancell’s vaccine candidates are designed to trigger T-cell responses against both the spike protein, the target of all approved prophylactics, and the nucleocapsid protein. By inducing immunity against the two proteins, including the conserved nucleocapsid, Scancell is aiming to provide protection against future variants and other SARS-CoV viruses. 

Regulators in South Africa cleared Scancell to run a phase 1 clinical trial of the vaccine candidates in July. The investigators will administer the vaccines using the PharmaJet Tropis and PharmaJet Stratis needle-free injection systems.

“Our preclinical studies have shown that delivery of SCOV1 and SCOV2 with the PharmaJet needle-free injection systems generates excellent T cell and antibody responses. In addition, they are easy-to-use and ideal for people who are needle-phobic, an important cause of vaccine hesitancy,” Scancell CEO Lindy Durrant said in a statement. 

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After showing its vaccines are safe, Scancell plans to test the effects of giving a dose to people in the U.K. who have previously received two shots of an existing COVID-19 jab. The study will provide a pointer to the potential for the vaccine to play a role in booster campaigns. 

PharmaJet’s systems deliver vaccines intramuscularly, subcutaneously or intradermally by channeling the fluid into a narrow stream. The company pitches the devices as a way to reduce the number of needlestick injuries.