Researchers from Georgia Tech and Emory University have developed a sticker patch that could effectively replace injections as a means to administer vaccines. This patch comes with dissolvable microneedles.

Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and the Emory University have come up with a sticker patch that delivers vaccine into the skin. The patch has a hundred tiny hair-like microneedles on its adhesive side that penetrate the skin’s surface. It is simple enough for people to stick on themselves.

Unlike regular injections that go all the way through the muscle, the microneedles puncture and dissolve into the upper layer of the skin, delivering the vaccine in about 20 minutes. Experts believe this should help more people get immunized, including those who are scared of injections.

 

This photograph shows how the microneedle vaccine patch was applied to study participants. (Image Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech)

A preliminary clinical trial showed that applying the patch was relatively painless compared to a regular flu shot. A few people got some mild side-effects, like redness and irritation on the skin where the patch was applied. These disappeared after a couple of days. Initial findings also revealed that the patch vaccines successfully immunized the users against the flu.

Technology Highlights

  • Ease of application: This is probably the most eagerly anticipated benefit of using these microneedle patches. Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Tech said “one of the main goals of developing the microneedle patch technology was to make vaccines accessible to more people.”With the microneedle patch, you could pick it up at the store and take it home, put it on your skin for a few minutes, peel it off and dispose of it safely, because the microneedles have dissolved away.
  • This also opens up a better transport and delivery system for vaccines to reach remote areas. It is easier to store these patches and send them to people by mail. It can be stored outside the refrigerator.

Larger human studies are expected to definitively determine that the vaccine patch is safe and effective. The technology for the microneedle patches holds great promise for the future of drug administration as the researchers improve the this for use with other vaccines, including measles, rubella and polio.

Links for more information – Georgia Tech, The Lancet


 


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