Vaccine of measles given with painless and easy-to-administer microneedle patches can immunize against measles at least as well as vaccine given with conventional hypodermic needles.
This is according to research done by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the study, the researchers developed a technique to dry and stabilize the measles vaccine - which depends on a live attenuated virus - and showed that it remained effective for at least 30 days after being placed onto the microneedles. They also demonstrated that the dried vaccine was quickly released in the skin and able to prompt a potent immune response in an animal model.
The microneedle technique could provide a new tool for international immunization programs against measles, which killed nearly 140,000 children in 2010. The research was reported online October 5 in the journal Vaccine
, and will appear in a special issue of the journal. The research was supported by the Georgia Research Alliance - and indirectly by the Division of Viral Diseases and Animal Resources Branch of the CDC, and by the National Institutes of Health through its support of efforts to develop a microneedle-based influenza vaccine.
"We showed in this study that measles vaccine delivered using a microneedle patch produced an immune response that is indistinguishable from the response produced when the vaccine is delivered subcutaneously," said Chris Edens, the study's first author and a graduate student in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.
Measles immunization programs now use conventional hypodermic needles to deliver the vaccine. Large global immunization programs therefore require significant logistical support because the vaccine must be kept refrigerated, large numbers of needles and syringes must be shipped, and the ten-dose vaccine vials must be reconstituted with sterile water before use.
Because it requires a hypodermic needle injection, measles immunization programs must be carried out by trained medical personnel. Finally, used needles and syringes must be properly disposed of to prevent potential disease transmission or reuse.