Biomedical engineers from the Medical Devices Lab at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have developed an affordable, reloadable adrenaline auto-injector called the ZibiPen.
The injector will provide vials of adrenaline for a fraction of the current cost of adrenaline auto-injectors to people with life-threatening allergies.
"Adrenaline auto-injectors on the market can be expensive, expire within 18 months and can only be used once,” UCT allergy division head Professor Mike Levin said in a statement published on Monday.
Current devices in the market are unintuitive and are based on the size of an average male, which could pose problems for children, women and the obese, he added.
He added that the ZibiPen can be customised for any patient with needle length and dose calculated by clinicians and set by pharmacists.
“One of the main challenges was developing a small device that could exert a force of around 200 newtons, about 20 km. But the team managed to develop an effective patent pending spring-based system configuration,” he noted.
The ZibiPen was recently recognised in the Emerging Medical Innovation Competition at the Design of Medical Devices Conference, in China, where it placed second and was awarded a full technical and market evaluation by the Medical Industry Leadership Institute, valued at R180 000.
Research Contracts and Innovation at UCT partnered with the design team at an early stage and has facilitated the intellectual property protection and commercialisation of the technology.