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Health Tech: BBQ Lighter Delivers Vaccines

If you’ve got a propane grill, you probably have one of those clicker lighters that you use to light the burners. But can that same device also administer vaccines?

The COVID pandemic has brought public attention to the whole question of vaccines. While they can help protect us from contracting and spreading disease, many people are hesitant to get immunized because they don’t like getting shots with hypodermic needles. Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University have come up with a painless way to deliver vaccine doses. They took a standard barbecue lighter and put a small patch of microneedles at the end instead of the butane lighter. A press of the button creates an electrical charge – no batteries needed – which helps the vaccine penetrate the skin. They tested the device with mice and found that it worked. In fact, the immune response from the vaccine was ten times greater than with the mice who received a shot with a traditional needle. More testing is needed, but this could make vaccines less expensive and more convenient.

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Written by Alfred Poor

Alfred Poor is an "Into Tomorrow" Contributing Correspondent, health tech speaker, writer and the founding Editor of Health Tech Insider: a website and industry newsletter that covers wearable and mobile technology for health and medical applications. With more than 2,400 articles published on the site, he has a broad perspective of where the global industry stands today and where it’s headed... Into Tomorrow.

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