A wearable device has been developed that stimulates an immune response from the wearer against respiratory pathogens, including MERS and SARS.
The device, Inocul-Air, was created by UK-based Medi-Immune, which says it has now successfully completed extensive functional trials of its patented device. The trial established that users of Inocul-Air will be fully protected from, and additionally develop a protective response when exposed to, any airborne pathogen regardless of mutation, even those which can render vaccines and other therapeutics ineffective.
During the past four years, the company has developed prototype devices and conducted testing at Public Health England at Porton Down. It is now confident that, using its filter-free technology, a range of personal devices can be built which will protect individuals more effectively than any of the currently available filtration face masks. In vitro and in vivo tests were designed to demonstrate that the battery-powered device would not only deliver superior protection to the user, but simultaneously trigger a protective response to those airborne pathogens. The in vivo trials commenced in January 2017 and completed in early April; the fully documented results are now available.
Med-Immune claims that the results represent a ‘radical shift’ in the field of immunology and airborne pathogen protection. Inocul-Air could supplement and complement existing vaccine development to unknown or quickly mutating airborne pathogens, by providing protection until a vaccine can be developed and tested. A key purpose of the trial was to establish that an immune response was triggered when the subject was exposed to inhaled pathogens passed through Inocul-Air.
The use of Inocul-Air will be particularly effective in areas where an infectious level of unknown airborne pathogens exist, or where no vaccine is currently available, to protect the general population and medical personnel against a known or developing pathogen.
It will also be efficacious when used by a subject with a respiratory infection by protecting others, not just by reducing the number of infectious pathogens getting into the air but allowing those breathing that air to be immunised.
In addition to the instant protection provided ‘in the field’, the underlying technology can also be deployed in more stable environments where a patient’s immune system is compromised and therefore requires protection.