Vaccine and Pharmaceutical Delivery Technologies

SoloShot™ syringe

Eliminating a key route of disease transmission

Worldwide, nearly 40 percent (in some countries as high as 70 percent) of injections are currently given with syringes and needles reused without sterilization,1 increasing the risk of disease transmission from patient to patient. To address this issue, PATH designed and developed the SoloShot™ syringe—the first autodisable (AD) syringe to be commercialized for immunization and drug delivery.

Creative partnerships in product development

In the late 1980s, funding from the US Agency for International Development enabled our aggressive advancement of an AD design previously patented by PATH. In 1990, we licensed this technology to BD Pharmaceutical Systems, one of the world’s largest syringe manufacturers, which now manufactures and markets the device on a global scale each year.

In addition to our work with BD, we have assisted several other manufacturers of AD syringes to ensure that a wide variety of products are available to public health agencies at low cost. Although many different syringe types are used in therapeutic programs, the sector has generally viewed AD syringes as too expensive for broad introduction. Over time, increases in marketplace competition and production volume have helped to lower the price of goods. Currently, the price of an AD syringe is within US$0.02 of the price of a conventional disposable syringe.

Innovative design locks in safety

The SoloShot syringe involves a fixed needle and automatically disables after a single injection. When the syringe is filled to its preset level, its plunger stops and cannot be retracted further. Once the vaccine or medication is administered to the patient, the plunger fully locks—altogether prohibiting the reuse of the device.

Third-party validations of the SoloShot syringe have demonstrated its acceptability and usability. The syringe can also be safely used by health workers regardless of injection experience.

Achieving global reach and scale

Following a call by the World Health Organization Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) to address needle reuse globally, AD syringes are now routinely used throughout the world for immunizations. Since its commercial introduction in 1992, more than 6 billion vaccinations have been delivered using the SoloShot syringe by public health programs in more than 40 developing and emerging countries. Every year, UNICEF distributes hundreds of millions of AD syringes to EPI programs. They also now only provide AD syringes to countries requesting syringes for immunization.

Additional information

SoloShot is a trademark of BD.


1. World Health Organization (WHO). Injection safety [fact sheet]. Geneva: WHO; 2012. Available at: http://tinyurl.com/oj3qat5.