UCF Professor wins Gates grant for needle-free vaccines

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has granted University of Central Florida Professor Henry Daniell a two-year, $761,302 grant to support work which could result in less expensive, needle-free vaccines.

Daniell's vaccine production method uses genetically engineered tobacco and lettuce plants that are ground up and added to vaccines. But instead of using traditional needles, the vaccine is delivered in a capsule. This method of vaccine development is faster than fermentation and easier than using inactivated or avirulent forms of bacteria or viruses because no refrigeration is required. That's a key to successfully delivering vaccines to the poorest parts of the world.

The grant will help Daniell continue his research on developing a new polio vaccine based on this method. But the technique could also be applied to more common diseases like malaria, cholera, dengue, anthrax and plague in the future, a release notes.

"If this proceeds as we expect, it will revolutionize how vaccines are made," Daniell said. "We're currently using decades-old technology that is expensive and inefficient. Our new process is a game changer that could make a global difference."

- here's the release on the funding