Drugs

Tablets can replace syringes

Can revolutionize vaccination.

Tablets can replace syringes

Pectin

Fibers found in vegetables, fruit and berries where it is included as structural units in the cell walls.

When the fruit grows, the pectin breaks down and it becomes soft.

Pectin forms yellow with sugar in an acid environment.

Pectin is used as a thickener in many foods.

Pectin is not digested in the intestine and is therefore considered to be fiber.

Source: dinkost. no

Tablets covered with pectin may eventually replace syringes. This could mean, for example, that it will be far cheaper to provide vaccines in developing countries.

It is Ellen Hagesæther at the Pharmaceutical Institute at the University of Oslo, who has researched pectin as a pharmaceutical auxiliary.

– Several places in the world are researching whether to try to avoid injection with syringes, and to find other medicines. I have researched whether pectin can help tablets stick to the intestine so that the medicine can be absorbed in the mucous membranes, “says Ellen Hagesæther.. no.

Vaccine without syringe

The problem with regular tablets is that they stay in the intestine for a short period of time. Sometimes, and in some people, the body takes only 30-40 percent of the active substance in the medicine. This may be particularly problematic for patients who need blood pressure medication, and this also applies to patients taking medications like pain relievers, antibiotics and steroids given by inflammation.

Gardeners used pectin in the research. Pectin is a sugar molecule that adheres to the mucous membranes of the body and causes the tablet to stay longer in the intestine, writes research. no.

The pectin did not dissolve, but remained in the intestine for several hours.

– One might imagine, for example, that a vaccine can enter the body via the mucous membranes instead of injecting into the blood, “says Hagesæther,” clicked. no.

Simpler and cheaper

Hagesæther has used a piglet in the research. The intestine of the pig has similar conditions as the small intestine in humans.

Because pectin adheres to the intestinal mucosa, one can imagine that the absorption of drugs may increase compared to regular tablets. In the long term this may mean that vaccines can be given in tablet form instead of syringes.

It will make it cheaper and easier to vaccinate, even in parts of the world where vaccines can save lives. Using tablets to vaccinate also becomes less dependent on qualified healthcare professionals and can therefore vaccinate much more in less time.

Research on a global scale can lead to significant advances in vaccination worldwide, says the researcher..

Tablets can replace syringes

SKUMMEL SPRØYTE: Many people may be very happy to switch from syringes to tablets. This picture has been taken during a vaccination campaign against hepatitis B in Peru. Photo: Martin Mejia / SCANPIX

According to the World Health Organization, two million people die each year of diseases that could have been prevented by a vaccine.

For diabetics, a possible transition from syringes to tablets may mean a far better everyday. An insulin product according to the same principle is already on the market in Ecuador and India.

This product is a spray where the insulin is wrapped in nanoparticles. The particles adhere to the mucosa and are absorbed into the body.

The advantage of pectin compared to other active substances is that it is cheap and safe. Pectin comes from nature, and we get a little of it every day through, for example, jams, fruit and yogurt.

Idealism

The way forward to a transition from syringes to tablets can be long, according to the researcher.

The problem may be that the pharmaceutical industry will not earn so much money on it.

– Without my full overview, I do not think there’s so much money to get in this. Many of the recipients of vaccines are poor countries, so in that case it must be idealism that accelerates such a development from syringes to tablets. If this can not take many years, “says Hagesæther.

Several locations in the world are researching different active substances that can help the body take up medicines as effectively as with syringes.

More research remains

There are several factors that need to be clarified in the further research.

– We still do not know if a sufficient dose of the drug is absorbed in the intestine by such a method. This must be optimized. We also need to find out which active substances are the very best. I have only used pig carbs in the laboratory, but have not attempted people. More research on mucosa vaccination must be done before we know for sure, “says Ellen Hagesæther.

Senior researcher dr. scient. Ingrid Henriksen in GE Healthcare was in the class of the doctorate of Ellen Hagesæther when it was presented last week.

– The small intestine is one of the most difficult to research, and it is therefore difficult to come to some clear conclusions. Nevertheless, all studies help. Many small pieces are needed, which means that we achieve something, Henriksen says. no.

Various types of pectins have been studied in the study. Both in dry form and as solutions, alone or in combination with other substances.

– So important in this research is that she has investigated different variations and what effect the different variations of pectins have, “says Henriksen..

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