A microneedle patch made up of dissolvable material that eliminates needle-related risks of diseases has been developed by scientists at Osaka University. This needle can be used as an easier, safer and less painful method of vaccination for Influenza.
Flu vaccines delivered using microneedles that dissolve in the skin can protect people against infection even better than the standard needle-delivered vaccine, said researchers.
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.
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. Because the new patch is so easy to use, we believe it will be particularly effective in supporting vaccination in developing countries," said Professor Shinsaku Nakagawa, one of the authors of the study from Osaka University.
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.
The researchers compared the new system to traditional needle delivery by vaccinating two groups of people against three strains of influenza: A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B.