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.