COVID vaccine: Suctioning may provide better protection than needles

10:57 AM Nov 07, 2021 | Team Udayavani |

According to a new study, suctioning Covid-19 vaccinations may help build stronger antibody levels and provide better protection than regular needles.


When traditional vaccines are injected into the arm, they are not automatically absorbed by cells. In fact, some of it degrades before it even gets to the cells so the body can mount an immune response.

According to researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey, providing suction on the skin immediately after the shot would create strain on the skin, forcing cells to automatically absorb the vaccine, Daily Mail reported.

A suctioning vaccine is faster and cheaper to manufacture, and can be more widely distributed than the vaccines currently in use, they explained.

In the study, published in the journal Science Advances, the team tested the new type of immunisation for the virus based on the ancient form of medicine known as cupping, in which heated special cups are placed on the skin for a few minutes to create suction, immediately following a Covid shot.


They found rodents that were given the vaccine via the suction method generated antibody levels millions of times higher than a traditional injection.

“This suction-based technique is implemented by applying a moderate negative pressure to the skin after nucleic acid injection in a totally non-invasive manner,” said Dr Hao Lin, a professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Rutgers, in a statement.

“This method enables an easy-to-use, cost-effective and highly-scalable platform for both laboratory and clinical applications for nucleic-acid-based therapeutics and vaccines,” Lin added.

In the study, one group of rats received two injections of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate by South Korea-based GeneOne Life Science.

Another group received a single injection followed by a single suction and a final group received two injections followed by two suctions.

Antibody levels were between two million and five million times higher among the two suction groups than the group that received injections alone, results showed.

“We have demonstrated an alternative, safe and effective transfection platform that yields high levels of transgene expression,” Lin said.

“Because of the inherent advantages of DNA, not least of which is avoiding cold-chain requirements of other vaccines, this technology facilitates vaccination programmes into remote regions of the world where resources are limited,” Lin noted.

(With inputs from IANS)


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