AMSTERDAM, Oct. 13 – Dutch researchers are developing laser technology to inject without “almost painless” needles that alleviate fear and lower the vaccine limit.
Bubble Gun uses a laser to transmit tiny droplets from the outer layer of the skin, said David Fernandes Rivas, a professor at the University of Twente and a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The process is faster than a mosquito bite and “shouldn’t cause pain” because the skin doesn’t touch the nerve endings, he said, adding that this will be further studied.
“Within milliseconds, a glass containing a liquid is heated using a laser, a bubble forms in the liquid and it expels the liquid at a speed of at least 100 km / h (60 mph),” he said in an interview. in his laboratory.
“It allows us to enter without damaging the skin. We don’t see any wounds or entry points.”
Rivas hopes the invention will not only help vaccinate more people, but also prevent the risk of infection with dirty needles and reduce medical waste.
The test on the tissue samples was successfully completed with a 1.5 million euro ($ 1.73 million) grant from the European Union. Rivas said an application for funding to start human testing with volunteers is expected to be submitted this month.
The new startup will partner with the pharmaceutical industry to test and sell Bubble Gun technology, he said.
However, depending on the progress of the research and regulatory issues, it may take 1-3 years for this method to be open to the general public.
One in five Dutch people is afraid of needles, said Hank Shenk, who suggests therapy to help those suffering severely. “Needle phobia is more common than you think. People are ashamed to admit it.”
Some people start their fears of being hospitalized with a childhood trauma or fear of handing over control. About one in 1,000 people has a deep phobia, which requires repeated sessions to prepare them for training.
“During the (coronavirus) pandemic … you see, a lot of people who managed to avoid it are now on the wall. People who need to get the COVID-19 vaccine are an important group for me this year.”
Patient Astrid Nijsen, a 31-year-old music actress who has had 10 sessions with Schenk, says she is still worried about getting vaccinated, even without a needle.
“It started during adolescence. If I see a needle or need to shoot, I just want to leave. I’ll break the place to avoid shooting,” he said.