Before the 1960s, smallpox vaccination campaigns relied on unreliable jet injectors that slowed delivery of the vaccine. RML (Then PMP) changed that with the introduction of the bifurcated needle, which holds a dose of reconstituted smallpox vaccine in its prongs and punctures a person’s skin easily to the ideal depth for delivery. Our engineers designed the needle, and our team of machinists and metalworkers perfected to how to manufacture it in bulk. By the end of the 1960s, thanks to the success of the bifurcated needle, smallpox was the only disease that had been eradicated in humans.
Then came the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the global turmoil that followed. Faced with the possibility that terrorists might use smallpox as a bio-weapon, the U.S. government turned to RML with a new challenge: produce enough bifurcated needles — 400 million — in one year to inoculate the entire nation. To hit the target, RML would have to make 25 million needles a month, which breaks down to almost six million a week and more than 800,000 per day!
Actually, it only took our team 11 months, and we even improved on the packaging. The project still stands as one of our most significant achievements — and a testament to the knowledge and expertise that PMP brings to every medical device manufacturing challenge.
Our experience manufacturing bifurcated needles for smallpox makes us a logical choice to make needles for the skin prick allergy test. Each year, RML produces thousands of needles used for allergy testing by hospitals, immunologists, and allergists. Our needles are inexpensive, minimally invasive, and produce results in 15 to 20 minutes. And because they’re easy to use, they can deliver highly reproducible results in the hands of trained professionals.