Dissolving microneedle patch 'could be suitable for flu vaccination'


An experimental patch of dissolving microneedles has been developed as a painless and user-friendly means of administering flu vaccinations.

Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University researchers have created a vaccine patch the size of a coin that consists of 100 solid, water-soluble needles that are just long enough to penetrate the skin.

“A new type of microneedle patch has been shown to offer considerable potential as a user-friendly flu vaccination tool.“

The vaccine is encapsulated in the needles and released as the needle tips dissolve over the course of a few minutes. The patch can then be peeled away and discarded like a used plaster.

In a test involving 100 adults, vaccination with the microneedle patches was found to be safe, with no serious related adverse events reported, while antibody responses generated by the vaccine were essentially the same as when delivered by injection.

Additionally, no significant difference was seen between the doses of vaccine delivered by healthcare workers and volunteers who self-administered the patches, showing that it is easy to correctly self-administer the patch.

As such, it is hoped that the patch can dramatically reduce the cost of vaccination, as it does not require health workers to oversee the process. The patches can also be easily packaged for transportation, requiring no refrigeration.

Dr Roderic Pettigrew, director of the US National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, said: "A particularly attractive feature is that this vaccination patch could be delivered in the mail and self-administered. In addition, this technology holds promise for delivering other vaccines in the future."

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