The first steps toward Idevax’s solution were taken around 2010 at the University of Antwerp, one of Flanders’ top-notch universities. At the time, the swine flu was spreading with the potential of turning into the pandemic that many had been fearing for decades. Suddenly, it became very important to be able to vaccinate on a large scale, with limited availability of doses.
In this context, Antwerp vaccinologist Pierre Van Damme pointed to the scientific literature on an alternative injection method. If a vaccine is administered into the skin (intradermal) rather than the muscle (intramuscular), one dose produces the same immune response 5 to 10 times longer. Why? An intradermal vaccine comes into direct contact with a variety of immune cells, while an intramuscular vaccine must first make its way to the lymph nodes. Due to this ‘travel effect’, the vaccine loses strength.