IIT Kharagpur. (Mint file)
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Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed a microneedle that allows large drug molecules to be administered painlessly, the institute said in a statement on Saturday.

The institute’s electronics and electrical engineering department has not only reduced the diameter of the microneedles, but also increased their strength so that they don’t break when they penetrate the skin.

In the future, the microneedle can also be used for the COVID-19 vaccination, in addition to delivering insulin, the statement said.

“A typical application could be in insulin delivery or medication for diseases of the lymphatic system, skin including some cancers or even the COVID-19 vaccine,” said lead researcher Prof. Tarun Kanti Bhattacharyya.

He said, “We have made high-strength glass-carbon microneedles that can withstand the forces of the skin. Added to this is our design of the micropump based on an ionic polymer-metal composite membrane that increases the flow rate of the drug molecules in a controlled and precise manner. We have further integrated this microneedle and micropump to achieve controlled drug delivery. “He said the device would find widespread use in any form of transdermal drug.

“The more we do multidisciplinary research and development, the better we can create bespoke, effective microneedle-based delivery systems,” he added.

The microneedle has the potential to transform the drug delivery system from the current syringe to a painless but effective experience for patients.

The drug delivery device has been successfully tested on animals according to the medical protocol.

The researchers have also applied for a patent in India and published the research in IEEE and Nature journals.

Research for this innovation was funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) and the Government of India’s Department of Science of Technology, the statement added.

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