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Self-administered patches take pain out of getting flu shots

Scientists hope to replace syringes with micro-needle patches.
Scientists hope to replace syringes with micro-needle patches.

Dread going to the doctor, and hate needles even more? Take heart, there is hope on the horizon in the form of a new painless flu vaccine patch that can easily be self-administered at home.

According to tests involving 100 volunteers from the Atlanta area. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University and the CDC found that the participants were easily able to apply the vaccine patches, which contain 50 microscopic needles (“approximately as tall and thick as a few hairs” to their forearms. When pressed into place, the vaccine painlessly spreads into the outer layers of the skin “prompting immune reactions from the body.”

“Our dream is that each year there would be flu vaccine patches available in stores or sent by the mail for people to self-administer,” stated Mark Prausnitz, a Regents professor (and patent expert) at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

“People could take them home and apply them to the whole family.”

As a result, experts hope that not only would this increase the number of people being vaccinated, but also reduce healthcare costs by “relieving the burden on healthcare professions required to give millions of vaccinations each year.”

To learn more, readers can read the study report which was published online in the February 11, 2014 edition of the journal Vaccine.

Note: The study was also supported by the National Institutes of Health

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