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article imagePainless flu patch for those who don't like needles

By Tim Sandle     Jun 29, 2017 in Health
Thinking about the flu season but worried about the painful injection? If you're needle-phobic then something much easier is on the horizon: a skin patch to administer the vaccine.
The patch looks much like a sticking plaster, yet it delivers the flu shot with the same degree of effectiveness as when the vaccine is delivered via a needle. The patch has recently undergone a clinical trial where it passed important safety tests using people. The patch works through the underside being made up of around one hundred tiny hair-like microneedles. These come with an adhesive, allowing the underside of the patch to be securely fitted onto the skin. The needles painlessly penetrate the skin's surface.
The patch is described as simple to use and it could be used at home by consumers without the need for a medical or healthcare professional to be in attendance. One aim behind the invention was to increase the rate of flu vaccinations by creating something that could be distributed more easily (the patch does not need to be kept refrigerated); to reduce medical time; and , most importantly, provide a solution for those who simply do not like needles.
As lead researcher Lead researcher Professor Mark Prausnitz, told the BBC: "If you zoom in under the microscope what you'll see are microscopically small needles. They puncture painlessly into the skin."
In trials the patch used an inactivated multi-viral vaccine composed of 18 μg of haemagglutinin per H1N1 vaccine strain, 17 μg of haemagglutinin per H3N2 vaccine strain, and 15 μg of haemagglutinin per B vaccine strain.
The patch was developed between Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The clinical trials relating to the use of the patch have been reported to the medical journal The Lancet, in a research paper titled: "The safety, immunogenicity, and acceptability of inactivated influenza vaccine delivered by microneedle patch (TIV-MNP 2015): a randomised, partly blinded, placebo-controlled, phase 1 trial."
In related news, the U.K. National Health Service has begun using a spray-flu vaccine for use with children. This also relates to the issue of a fear of needles.
More about Flu, Influenza, Patch, Needle, Injection
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