Tokyo: Scientists have developed a new microneedle patch made of dissolvable material that could make flu vaccination easier, safer and less painful by eliminating needle-related risks of diseases and injuries.
Flu vaccines delivered using microneedles that dissolve in the skin can protect people against infection even better than the standard needle-delivered vaccine, researchers said.
Researcher, from Osaka University in Japan, said their dissolvable patch – the only vaccination system of its kind – could make vaccination easier, safer and less painful.
Most vaccines are injected under the skin or into the muscle using needles. While this is an effective delivery method, it requires medical personnel with technical skills and brings the risk of needle-related diseases and injuries.
The new microneedle patch is made of dissolvable material, eliminating needle-related risks.
It is also easy to use without the need for trained medical personnel, making it ideal for use in developing countries, where healthcare resources are limited.
“Our novel transcutaneous vaccination using a dissolving microneedle patch is the only application vaccination system that is readily adaptable for widespread practical use,” said Professor Shinsaku Nakagawa, one of the authors of the study from Osaka University.
“Because the new patch is so easy to use, we believe it will be particularly effective in supporting vaccination in developing countries,” said Nakagawa.
The new microneedle patch – MicroHyala – is dissolvable in water. The tiny needles are made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance that cushions the joints.
When the patch is applied like a plaster, the needles pierce the top layer of skin and dissolve into the body, taking the vaccine with them.