Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Flu : successful testing with the patch vaccine

Flu : successful testing with the patch vaccine

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"They are placed on a Band-Aid-like structure, and then that Band-Aid is applied, in this case, to the wrist", she said. "We now need to follow this study with a phase II clinical trial involving more people, and we hope that will happen soon".

Associate Professor Nadine Rouphael at Emory University School of Medicine and co-author of the study, said: "Despite the recommendation of universal flu vaccination, influenza continues to be a major cause of illness leading to significant morbidity and mortality".

One group received a flu vaccine via the patch, administered by a health care worker; another received a flu vaccine via a traditional flu shot; another group received a placebo microneedle patch, administered by a health care worker; the fourth group used the patch to self-administer a flu vaccine. The flu is responsible for around 48,000 deaths in USA annually, according to the study, published today (June 27) in the journal The Lancet.

Researchers from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology developed the patch, which consists of 100 microscopic needles that delivers the vaccine into the skin. The cost of manufacturing the patch is expected to be at par with the prefilled cost of syringes.

For the most part, medicines are given by one of two methods: a pill or an injection, Prausnitz told Live Science.

While the idea of a "no injection" vaccine sounds great if you don't like injections, they may have a much bigger impact in parts of the world where it's hard to reach and administer vaccines with a continuous cold chain, and where health care staff are in short supply.

The microneedle patch was designed with transdermal patches in mind, Prausnitz said. Finally, a last group was given a placebo delivered by the patch. They wanted to create a better way to administer flu vaccines without the use of painful shots. The team also found that the drugs in the patch could stay viable for over a year, without the need for refrigeration. "There is an audible snap that you hear when you apply enough pressure to ensure that the microneedles will actually penetrate the skin".

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Scientists in the USA have developed a patch with microneedles containing a vaccine which would allow patients to immunise themselves.

The first-in-human clinical trial of the flu vaccine patches began in June 2015 with 100 participants aged 18-49 who were healthy and who had not received the influenza vaccine during the 2014-15 flu season. Then, the participants were divided into four, equal-sized groups.

Further testing in larger trials needs to be done to be sure these initial results hold true and that the vaccine patch is safe and effective.

"It's very exciting to have a means of giving vaccines that protects people, that's safe and they can do it themselves", he said. No differences were found between the patients who self-administered the patch and those who had a nurse stick it on.

The researchers also found that the participants' immune systems response was just as strong in the people who received the patch as those who received the injection, Rouphael told Live Science.

Thousands got the flu this season in what was one of the deadliest in almost a decade.

In fact more than 70% of participants said they would prefer to use in the future compared to visiting the doctor. "And it did, actually", Rouphael said. A team of american researchers have developed a patch-based vaccine influenza.

"Microneedle patches have the potential to become ideal candidates for vaccination programs", they wrote. After the needle heads dissolve and release the vaccine, the patch is peeled off and discarded. Results of a small phase 1 trial were encouraging, with no serious side effects reported.

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