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Skin patch in place of flu-shot
July 9, 2017, 1:30 pm

An experimental flu vaccine patch with dissolving micro-needles appears safe and effective, say scientists at the US National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, who were behind a preliminary study of the patch vaccine.

The patch has 100 solid, water-soluble and painless micro-needles that are just long enough to penetrate the skin. Researchers say the patch could offer a pain-free and more convenient alternative to flu shots, and has the potential to transform how vaccination programs are implemented around the world.

A particularly attractive feature of the vaccination patch is that it could be delivered in the mail and be self-administered. In addition, this technology holds promise for delivering other vaccines in the future, said a press release from the institute.

The flu vaccine is released by the micro-needles, which dissolve within a few minutes. The patch is then peeled off and thrown away. There were no serious side-effects to the patch and only a few patients, from among the first hundred users of the patch, reported faint redness and mild itching that lasted two or three days

These early results could suggest the emergence of a promising new option for seasonal flu vaccinations as well as other vaccination programs in the future said the scientists behind the study.

Other features of the micro-needle patch include its low cost, long shelf-life, safety, storage convenience and durability. “Micro-needle patches have the potential to become ideal candidates for vaccination programs, not only in poorly resourced settings, but also for individuals who currently prefer not to get vaccinated," the scientists said.

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