Biomimicry today at the service of patients who are afraid of syringes and injections.
franceinfo: when nature teaches us how mosquitoes manage to bite us without us noticing, Solenne?
Solenne Le Hen: It must have happened to you, at the time, you didn’t feel anything, but a few minutes, a few hours later, it itches. And then you find out that you have pimples, your whole body has been a meal for mosquitoes.
How did you not realize you were getting bitten? This is where the mosquito is strong, or very deceitful, it depends, it bites discreetly, without hurting. This allows him to take your blood quietly, without rushing. Then, American researchers from Ohio observed the functioning of the mosquito’s proboscis. In fact, it consists of two parallel channels, they are strong and flexible enough to pierce the skin, and long enough to reach the vein or artery.
On these two channels, one sends saliva to you to block the clotting and to numb your skin, it is this saliva which then causes the pimple, the itch, while the other channel sucks the blood.
This numbing product, is that what makes it possible not to have pain?
Yes, and also the shape of the tube. First, it is serrated, like a saw, so with small points of contact, and because the end of these channels, the end that will first come into contact with the skin, is very thin, much thinner than the rest of the tube, only about 1 micron in diameter. The diameter is therefore not the same everywhere, the needle is conical.
And this is what has inspired syringe manufacturers for twenty years. Very useful for belonephobes, that is to say people who are afraid of needles, and also practical, for patients who must receive injections regularly, I am thinking of diabetics for example.
Today Japanese companies market miniature syringes…
Miniature syringes for injecting insulin. These syringes imitate the proboscis of the mosquito, with this shape no longer cylindrical of the classic syringes, but conical. The end of the Nanopass syringe thus measures 0.22mm in diameter, or 220 microns.
To give you an idea, it is the diameter of a large hair, horsehair for example. These micro-syringes cost a little more to manufacture, but the advantage is that the pain is almost non-existent. All that, it is at least a reason to thank the mosquitoes!