Dissolving Microneedle Delivery of a Prophylactic HPV Vaccine

Biomacromolecules. 2022 Mar 14;23(3):903-912. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.1c01345. Epub 2022 Feb 9.


Prophylactic vaccines capable of preventing human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are still inaccessible to a vast majority of the global population due to their high cost and challenges related to multiple administrations performed in a medical setting. In an effort to improve distribution and administration, we have developed dissolvable microneedles loaded with a thermally stable HPV vaccine candidate consisting of Qβ virus-like particles (VLPs) displaying a highly conserved epitope from the L2 protein of HPV (Qβ-HPV). Polymeric microneedle delivery of Qβ-HPV produces similar amounts of anti-HPV16 L2 IgG antibodies compared to traditional subcutaneous injection while delivering a much smaller amount of intradermal dose. However, a dose sparing effect was found. Furthermore, immunization yielded neutralizing antibody responses in a HPV pseudovirus assay. The vaccine candidate was confirmed to be stable at room temperature after storage for several months, potentially mitigating many of the challenges associated with cold-chain distribution. The ease of self-administration and minimal invasiveness of such microneedle patch vaccines may enable wide-scale distribution of the HPV vaccine and lead to higher patient compliance. The Qβ VLP and its delivery technology is a plug-and-play system that could serve as a universal platform with a broad range of applications. Qβ VLPs may be stockpiled for conjugation to a wide range of epitopes, which are then packaged and delivered directly to the patient via noninvasive microneedle patches. Such a system paves the way for rapid distribution and self-administration of vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Capsid Proteins
  • Epitopes
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines* / therapeutic use
  • Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Capsid Proteins
  • Epitopes
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle