A team of researchers from the United States has developed a flu vaccine delivery method that eliminates the need for needles and syringes.
The innovation? A vaccine patch covered in 100 needles that penetrate the skin gently and painlessly to deliver their immunising payload.
“This bandage-strip sized patch of painless and dissolvable needles can transform how we get vaccinated,” says Dr Roderic I. Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. “This technology holds promise for delivering other vaccines in the future.”
It was developed by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, and was funded by the US’ National Institutes of Health.
“Adhesive helps the patch grip the skin during the administration of the vaccine, which is encapsulated in the needles and is released as the needle tips dissolve, within minutes,” says a report by the NIBIB. “The patch is peeled away and discarded like a used bandage strip.”
A study using 100 participants showed, among other things, that the patches can be effectively self-administered, revolutionising the way people take their flu vaccines every year.
Because the needles dissolve, the patches can be discarded without fear of disease transmission, and they aren’t any more expensive than regular vaccines.
It’s also 100% safe, with the worst side effects being a rash that lasts a few days, likely an immune response to the oh-so-necessary invasion.
Seems great, doesn’t it? If all goes according to plan, you could soon be receiving your next flu vaccination in the post!