Ten microneedle patches are shown with a 10-dose vial of influenza vaccine and 10 hypodermic needles with syringes. - Gary Meek/AFP
Traditional needle may also be thing of the past.
THE days of visiting a clinic to receive a flu vaccine may be over, a new study suggests. Researchers from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found self-vaccination may be possible using a microneedle patch instead of a traditional needle.
The study, published in the journal Vaccine and believed to be the first study of its kind, involved nearly 100 residents of the Atlanta, Georgia area who applied a prototype vaccine patch on themselves.
Each patch features about 50 microscopic needles as tall and thick as hair strands. Patches are pressed into the forearm and distribute the vaccine into the skin’s outer layers, resulting in a bodily immune reaction.
Researchers found test subjects very supportive of the patch method.
“In addition to the preference for the vaccine patch, we found that a large majority of the people willing to be vaccinated would choose to self-administer the vaccine,” said James Norman, the study’s first author.
“Our dream is that each year there would be flu vaccine patches available in stores or sent by mail for people to self-administer,” said Mark Prausnitz, a Regent’s professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “People could take them home and apply them to the whole family.”
Should experiments continue to succeed, the patch would be available within five years. – AFP Relaxnews