Skin patch could make traditional jabs redundant

Scientists have developed a patch that can take the pain out of injections. It is the perfect invention for those who have a fear of needles. The stamp-sized patch is studded with dozens of tiny needles, each a fraction of a millimeter long is equivalent of the width of a few strands of hair.

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This patch is coated with medicine & it reaches far enough through the skin to deliver the drug but not deep enough to hit the nerves that cause pain. The patch could be especially useful for sufferers of age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the elderly.

Although new drugs can improve symptoms, they must be injected directly into the eye each month, something that would be relatively simple by using one of the patches. Dr Mark Prausnitz said, “It's our goal to get rid of the need for hypodermic needles & replace them with a patch that can be applied by a patient. If you can move to something that is as easy to apply as a plaster, you've opened the door for people to self-administer their medicine.”

He further said that although it would probably first be used in a clinical setting, their vision is to have a self-administered flu vaccine patch. So instead of making an appointment with your doctor to get your flu shot, you can stop by the pharmacy or even get a patch in the mail & self-apply. It could very much increase the vaccine coverage since it would be easier for people to be vaccinated.

The researchers administered flu vaccines to mice using conventional injections & microneedle patches. They found that both produced the same number of immune system antibodies. But other measures of immune response showed a better reaction with the patches.

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