Do-it-yourself patch could replace annual flu jab

Finally, a needle-free way to get a flu vaccine

Finally, a needle-free way to get a flu vaccine

The next step is a large clinical trial to confirm that the patch in fact protects as well as the flu shot. "And it did, actually", Rouphael said.

Applying a dissolving microneedle patch. During the 20 minutes, the microneedles dissolve, and the vaccine is released in the body. Scientists are now planning to test the new patch in children, as well as develop patches for other vaccines beyond the flu.

In the clinical trial, the team studied blood samples from the 100 participants and found "no significant difference" in the antibody responses between the groups that received vaccinations through the patch and the needle. "The skin is an immune surveillance organ." said Prausnitz who led the team that designed the microneedles patch for the study.

The only side effects observed were a skin reaction causing mostly faint redness and mild itching that lasted two to three days. Initial experiments show the patch is safe, effective as traditional flu shots and patients could actually give it to themselves.

A preliminary study has shown that an experimental flu vaccine patch which has dissolving micro needles can work as effectively as a flu shot. Now you don't need to go through the pain of an injection when suffering from flu. Health experts hope the microneedle patch will help encourage people to get vaccinated.

Stephen Morse, professor and director of the infectious disease epidemiology certificate program at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health said: "The technology is limited by the stability of what you're trying to administer and the volume". "The flu being the most straightforward example".

This dissolvable patch offers radical pain free alternative to flu injection, researchers believe that the approach is likely to be welcomed by those shudder at the sight of a needle, but it could also provide other benefits. Researchers say that is a valuable bonus when it comes to providing vaccines to populations in developing countries. During the 2014 to 2015 flu season, less than half of those who should get vaccinated actually did. The patch, however, can dramatically reduce the cost of vaccination, since self-administration can eliminate the need to have health workers oversee the process.

Each patch holds 100 water-soluble needles that slightly penetrate the skin. This could have been because of a high level of background immunity to certain flu virus strains, the researchers said.

In Australia, there are about 3,500 flu-related deaths per year.

More than 70 percent of the participants preferred the patch over the usual injections, which researchers say could increase vaccination rates. It can also be easily transported and disposed after use. We found that the vaccine was stable outside the cold chain, meaning that it could be stored on a pharmacy shelf. If you can make vaccination easier, more people will take it.

Georgia Tech engineer Mark Prausnitz came up with the concept.

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