A Flu Shot Without the Needle

Microneedle patches for flu vaccination prove successful in first human clinical trial

The future of flu vaccines just might come in a tiny, prickly patch.

A third group received a traditional flu shot using a regular needle, and a fourth group got a patch that looked like the real thing but contained a placebo. This means that they could conceivably be posted to people. The vaccine is stored in the refrigerator, and the used needle must be disposed of in a safe manner. A research team at Emory University in Atlanta, GA has partnered with the GA Institute of Technology in a clinical trial using a patch, similar to a sticking plaster, that has a collection of "microneedles" on the surface. None of the participants had received a flu vaccine during the previous influenza season.

The researchers also are working to develop microneedle patches for use with other vaccines, including measles, rubella and polio. Details of the breakthrough are published in the latest issue of the Lancet medical journal.

BBC News, The Guardian, the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph all welcomed the end of "painful" injections with the "pain-free jab". That way, there are no sharp objects to dispose of like there might be with a flu shot, making it easier for people to put the patch on themselves.

What kind of research was this?

Then, the participants were divided into four, equal-sized groups. The manufacturing cost for the patch is expected to be competitive with prefilled syringe costs. These symptoms got better on their own over days.

What did the research involve?

A snap system was incorporated into the device to let users know when enough pressure had been applied to the patch. They found that yoga causes musculoskeletal pain in 10 percent of people who practice it, and exacerbates 21 percent of existing injuries.

Usually in RCTs, people are "blinded" to which group they're in.

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.

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After conclusive tests in the laboratory, the researchers have studied their innovation on the man.

None of the study volunteers had serious side effects. There were no flu-like illnesses or no new chronic illnesses reported.

Among participants either administering the patches themselves or having them administered by health care workers, 33 (66%) reported tenderness, 20 (40%) reported erythema and 41 (82%) reported pruritus.

Tucson- You may soon be able to get a flu vaccine, without the pain. Antibody responses generated by the vaccine, as measured through analysis of blood samples, were similar in the groups vaccinated using patches and those receiving intramuscular injection, and these immune responses were still present after six months.

A Possible Patch Vaccine Future?

This could have been because of a high level of background immunity to certain flu virus strains, the researchers said.

Mark Prausnitz, a Georgia Tech Regents professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, holds a microneedle vaccine patch containing needles that dissolve into the skin. The vaccines remained potent in the patches without refrigeration for at least one year.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

Twenty minutes later, the patch can be removed and simply thrown away.

Despite this, Rouphael and her colleagues are optimistic about the results of the trial. This low cost procedure and reduce risky waste buy they can be applied by the patients and do not need to be kept cold since they are stable at 104f for a year.

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