Under Malaysia (other countries as well) immunization program, none of us can escape from being immunize, conventional method for immunization is injection. Injection, what a terrifying word, some (I think should be ‘most’) of us rather sick to death than seeking help from doctor which might end up facing consequence of delivering medication into our skin through a NEEDLE! We got no choice but trying very hard to stay calm despite adrenaline is producing like crazy, because we don’t want sudden contraction of our muscle lead to NEEDLE breakage into two and left part of it inside our body…
However, thanks to Afendi Dahla, a 27 years old young Malaysian researcher currently pursuing his PhD in the University of London for providing an alternative to needles! This Malaysia-born-handsome-genius has invented a device which allow increasing permeability of the skin by applying low-frequency ultrasound together with sodium dodecyl sulphate on the skin, allowing the skin to absorb liquid-form-vaccine on the skin surface which applied later by using a dropper.The test had proven successful with tetanus vaccine on rats.
THIS WON’T HURT: Afendi demonstrating a jab with a probe sonicator at the School of Pharmacy, University of London. As an undergraduate at Universiti Malaya four years ago, he was so traumatised by the nurse taking his blood sample for Hepatitis B screening that he vowed to find a solution that would do away with needles. — Picture courtesy of AFENDI DAHLAN
What a genius. He MUST success in order to save million of life! Let wish him all the best!
For the full story, please continue reading.
Needled on by his fear of needles
by Choi Tuck Wo
LIKE most people, Afendi Dahlan often shuddered at the thought of the needle pricking his skin during an injection.
As an undergraduate at Universiti Malaya four years ago, he was so traumatised by the nurse taking his blood sample for Hepatitis B screening that he vowed to find a solution to do away with needles.
After two years of intensive research, he has found what he sees as an innovative approach to provide needle-less immunisation.
“My mission is to see people getting their vaccines without the need for injections,” said the 27-year-old PhD student of the University of London.
Afendi, from Shah Alam, has devised a way of applying low-frequency ultrasound, together with sodium dodecyl sulphate, on the skin to make it more permeable.
“Vaccines are then applied to the skin in liquid form using a dropper and are easily absorbed,” he said.
The young Malaysian’s research attracted considerable attention at Britain’s biggest pharmaceutical conference in Manchester recently; he was also interviewed by BBC Radio Manchester and Capital.FM London.
Afendi said the method would remove the problems associated with needle delivery – such as the spread of blood-borne diseases if someone was accidentally pricked or if a needle was reused.
“And, of course, there is the pain,” he said, adding that a trained nurse or doctor was also needed to administer a vaccine using a needle.
Apart from vaccines, the researchers are also investigating whether ultrasound could be applied for other drugs, proteins and certain creams with poor absorption through the skin.
“The procedure may even give rise to painless dental proceedings in future,” he said, apparently referring to the fear of injections prior to tooth extractions and cavity fillings.
Afendi said he felt it was time to offer an alternative to needles, which had been in use for 153 years.
“Since I’m afraid of needles, it makes sense for me to undertake the research for the benefit of mankind,” he added.
It was, however, not smooth sailing when he first started on his final-year thesis project; some people thought he was wasting his time.
Although ultrasound scans had been used in maternity wards to screen babies and as a cleaning tool in laboratories, its application for vaccines has yet to be documented.
Explaining how it works, Afendi said the medium and ultrasound would be applied to the forearm for up to two minutes before the vaccine could be used.
He said he tested the tetanus vaccine on mice and rats earlier this year and found the results positive.
“Not only is their immunity response as good as through injection but the level of protection is just as sufficient,” he noted.
As Afendi is in the midst of writing his thesis, he hopes to seek additional funds to continue his tests on human skin when he returns to Malaysia next year.
Among other things, he plans to complete his research in Universiti Malaya to prove that the method is safe for use on humans.
Afendi also hopes to get together fellow Malaysian engineering, designing and architectural experts to develop a hand-held, low-frequency ultrasound device for use in hospitals and clinics.
“We can brainstorm the concept and come out with a mobile unit that is practical for everyone,” he added.
Currently, the ultrasound commonly found in laboratories is administered through a probe sonicator that is bulky and of restrictive usage.
On his ambition, Afendi said he hoped to become a top researcher in the field of drug delivery and skin immunisation.
Since arriving in Britain to pursue his PhD in drug delivery in 2003, he has learnt numerous lessons in his research, including “being thrown into the deep end of the pool and expected to swim or drown”.
Afendi’s supervisor, Dr Sudax Murdan from the university’s Department of Pharmaceutics, described him as a “committed and gifted” young man.
“He’s one of my best PhD students,” she said, adding that he had the potential to go far in his career.
Dr Murdan said everyone was interested in needle-less immunisation, which she hailed as exciting and the “biggest thing” now.
So, those of you who feel squeamish about having an injection, you can breathe a sigh of relief as a painless way may well be on the way – thanks to a fellow Malaysian.