Innovative flu patch with 100 micro-needles can vaccinate you without pain

Do you dread the injection? Not anymore.
influenza patch microneedles
India TV Lifestyle Desk New Delhi 29 Jun 2017, 12:06 PM IST

Do you dread the needle? Now you don’t need to go through the pain of an injection when suffering from flu. Now, a new flu shot has been devised which doesn’t require actual shot! Yes, its no hoax. For the first time ever researchers have developed a flu vaccine patch’ in a human clinical trial which will provide as much as protection as a traditional injection with a needle does. It’s the best refuge for the needle-phobic people, reported Tuesday in the journal Lancet. 

Also Read: Good news! A new vaccine has been developed to cure Ebola

This is going to be a great development for the people who fear the needle will now not mind getting immunized against the flu. Seasonal influenza causes up to half a million deaths around the world each other, according to the reports of World Health Organisation. The annual death number ranged from 12,000 to 56,000 since 2010. Despite the numbers, the proportion of American adults who get a flu shot tends to be around merely 40%.

 This happens because usually people are scared of poking a piece of metal needle into their muscle of the upper arm. This leads to low vaccination rate. A team led by Georgia Tech Engineer Mark Prausnitz has devised an alternative and friendly method which makes uses of ‘micro needles’ to inject the flu vaccine in the blood stream. These tiny needles are so small that over 100 of them are carried on a patch. The patch can fit under your thumb, yet they’re effective enough to contain vaccine for three strains of the flu. These needles get dissolved into the skin. 

Also Read: Dengue and Swine Flu on rise: How to protect yourself

This microneedles patch was tested in a clinical trial conducted by Dr. Nadine Rouphael and colleagues at Emory University’s Hope Clinic in Decatur, Ga. It involved 100 volunteers and were randomly sorted into four groups. Two groups were vaccinated with the patch which closely resembles a band-aid and is applied on the wrist for 20 minutes. In fact, the volunteers can administer the vaccine themselves. The microneedles dissolved within 20 minutes. 

Third group received the traditional flu shot with the regular needle. And the fourth group got a patch that looked like real but contained a placebo. The volunteers were checked after 20 days after immunization. The antibody levels were significantly higher in the three groups than in the group that got the placebo. 

No volunteer experience any serious side effects. The ones who got the flu patch had mild skin reaction while the regular needle ones experienced pain. 

“Influenza vaccination with microneedle patches is well tolerated, well accepted, and results in robust immunological responses, whether administered by health-care workers or by the participants themselves,” they wrote.

“These early findings suggest the emergence of a promising new option for seasonal vaccination,” wrote Katja Hoschler and Maria Zambon of Public Health England.

“Microneedle patches have the potential to become ideal candidates for vaccination programs,” they wrote. 

So isn’t it the great news for those who fear the needle? Imagine getting all your vaccination done without experiencing any pain. Great idea! 

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