Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a globally prevalent sexually-transmitted pathogen, responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. HPV vaccination rates remain suboptimal, partly due to the need for multiple doses, leading to a lack of compliance and incomplete protection. To address the drawbacks of current HPV vaccines, we used a scalable manufacturing process to prepare implantable polymer–protein blends for single-administration with sustained delivery. Peptide epitopes from HPV16 capsid protein L2 were conjugated to the virus-like particles derived from bacteriophage Qβ, to enhance their immunogenicity. The HPV-Qβ particles were then encapsulated into poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) implants, using a benchtop melt-processing system. The implants facilitated the slow and sustained release of HPV-Qβ particles without the loss of nanoparticle integrity, during high temperature melt processing. Mice vaccinated with the implants generated IgG titers comparable to the traditional soluble injections and achieved protection in a pseudovirus neutralization assay. HPV-Qβ implants offer a new vaccination platform; because the melt-processing is so versatile, the technology offers the opportunity for massive upscale into any geometric form factor. Notably, microneedle patches would allow for self-administration in the absence of a healthcare professional, within the developing world. The Qβ technology is highly adaptable, allowing the production of vaccine candidates and their delivery devices for multiple strains or types of viruses.
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