College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Room-temperature vaccine could be boon to developing countries

Balaji Narasimhan, Vlasta Klima Balloun Professor of Chemical Engineering, discussed the potential of nanovaccines at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, Texas, held March 16-20.

Nanovaccines, which embed proteins from disease-causing organisms into tiny, polymer spheres five hundred times smaller than the width of a human hair, can be designed to target any disease by sealing proteins from the pathogens inside the spheres.

Narasimhan recently led a team in developing a nanovaccine delivered in a nose spray. Like other vaccines, the protein-containing nanoparticles contained in the spray prime the body’s immune system to recognize and mount a protective response against dangerous diseases without actually causing illness. He says the spray does not require refrigeration or booster shots, making the nanovaccine a potential “game-changer” in curbing disease in the developing world.

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