Painless Flu Jab Patch
The first trial of a ‘painless’ flu jab has passed important safety tests.
The patch will allow vaccine to be delivered into the skin via a patch that holds 100 micro needles the size of hairs that penetrate the skin’s surface.
In comparison to current flu jabs, the patch does not need to be kept in the fridge, meaning that pharmacies are able to stock the new method on their shelves for people to buy.
Developers, Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology explained that the patch offers the same protection as a jab but without the pain. As the jab penetrates the skin and reaches down into the muscle, the patch only punctures the upper most layer of the skin.
Lead researcher Professor Mark Prausnitz and his team tested the patch alongside flu injections on 100 volunteers. The overall consensus from those who tested the patch on their wrist for 20 minutes was that it was totally painless, with a few who experienced mild side effects such as redness, itching and tenderness. The symptoms got better on their own without the need for medical attention, over the course of a few days.
Those working on the experiment, have said that the patch can be safely stored for up to a year without refrigeration and will be safely disposable as the microneedles dissolve away on their own after use.
Although the patch has passed initial testing, experts say that there are still more clinical tests that need to be done over the course of the next few years in order for the system to be approved for widespread use.
John Edmunds, an expert in infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "This study is undoubtedly an important step towards a better way to deliver future vaccines."