New Band-Aid-like patch to replace painful flu injections

New Band-Aid-like patch to replace painful flu injections

New Band-Aid-like patch to replace painful flu injections

A disposable skin patch with micro needles can safely deliver influenza vaccines to the body, eliminating the need for painful injections, scientists said today after successfully completing human trials.

The skin patch can be self-administered and stored without refrigeration, making it significantly cheaper than traditional vaccines, researchers said.

It can also be easily transported and disposed after use.

Researchers including those from Georgia Institute of Technology in the US conducted a clinical trial and found that influenza vaccination using Band-Aid-like patches with dissolvable microneedles was safe and well-tolerated by participants.

The study, published in The Lancet journal, showed that it was just as effective in generating immunity against influenza, and was strongly preferred by study participants over vaccination with a hypodermic needle and syringe, researchers said.

"Despite the recommendation of universal flu vaccination, influenza continues to be a major cause of illness leading to significant morbidity and mortality," said Nadine Rouphael, associate professor at Emory University in the US.

"Having the option of a flu vaccine that can be easily and painlessly self-administered could increase coverage and protection by this important vaccine," Rouphael said.

Participants were randomised into four groups: vaccination with micro needle patch given by a health care provider; vaccination with micro needle patch self- administered by study participants; vaccination with intramuscular injection given by a health care provider; and placebo micro needle patch given by a health care provider.

Researchers found that vaccination with the micro needle patches was safe, with no adverse events reported.

Local skin reactions to the patches were mostly faint redness and mild itching that lasted two to three days.

No new chronic medical illnesses or influenza-like illnesses were reported with either the patch or the injection groups.

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, researchers said.

The team found more than 70 per cent of patch recipients reported they would prefer patch vaccination over injection or intranasal vaccination for future vaccinations.