News Worms
News Worms


New Technology For Flu Vaccination On The Horizon

New Technology For Flu Vaccination On The Horizon

"One of the main goals of developing the microneedle patch technology was to make vaccines accessible to more people".

Rouphael added the participants who used the patch liked it.

In fact more than 70% of participants said they would prefer to use in the future compared to visiting the doctor.

The new clinical trial is a preliminary study, so more research is needed before the microneedle patch could be made available to the general public.

The study, published online June 27, 2017, in The Lancet, was led by Nadine Rouphael, M.D., associate professor of medicine and Mark J. Mulligan, M.D., distinguished professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, in collaboration with Mark R. Prausnitz, Ph.D., Regents Professor and J. Erskine Love Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. Microneedle patches also overcome needle phobia issues, which will significantly increase uptake. "It has to be a small volume, because you know, the patches are not that big; they can't hold that much", Morse said.

Prausnitz and several other Georgia Tech researchers are inventors of the microneedle patch technology used in this study and have ownership interest in Micron Biomedical.

There were no adverse effects either, apart from some faint redness of the skin around the patch site, and some mild itching for a couple of days. The system delivers vaccine antigens across the stratum corneum directly into the skin epidermis and dermis.

In principle, you don't need an inch-long hypodermic needle to puncture a barrier that's thinner than a hair. It showed that the microneedle patch can produce antibody responses similar to regular flu shots. The patch could be kept on a shelf at up to 40 degrees, when most vaccines had to be stored at between 2 and 8 degrees or they would lose their potency. Some of the 100 volunteers got the regular shot in the arm, while others applied the microneedle patch to their wrist for 20 minutes. None of the participants had received a flu vaccine during the previous influenza season. They were randomly separated into four groups before being treated. No differences were found between the patients who self-administered the patch and those who had a nurse stick it on.

In the first human trial of the patch, involving 100 people, the patch was found to be just as effective as generating immunity for 12 months, and was preferred by the vast majority of those taking part.

Thousands got the flu this season in what was one of the deadliest in almost a decade.

Nearly no one reported feeling any pain from the patch's microneedles, but some participants developed some mild skin redness and irritation around the injection site. This type of reaction is normal and can be explained as the body's response to receiving the vaccine, Rouphael said.

"Dissolvable microneedle patches could potentially simplify the delivery of influenza vaccines", she says.

Getting an injection is on the bottom of everybody's list of favorite things, but now a more bearable alternative is another step closer to reality.

When pressed into the skin, the tiny needles dissolve, carrying vaccine into the skin.

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