Via MedCity News, we learn that the World Health Organization is set to mandate the use of auto-disabling syringes. This is going to have an enormous impact on global health (as well as being a boon to syringe makers). The reuse of syringes is common throughout Africa and Asia, and is a major contributor in the spread of disease.
There are several designs that accomplish the automatic disabling function. One approach locks the entire plunger in its fully depressed position. Another approach utilizes a break-away plunger design whereby the stopper is locked in place and the plunger shaft breaks off if anyone tries to pull the plunger back again after it has been depressed. I’m sure we’ll be seeing other innovative methods developed as well. Regardless of how the disabling is accomplished, this is a great example of clever medical device design being employed to save lives.