Intravenous vaccines administered without injections seemed like a dream until recently. However, that has all changed since the release of the results of a study conducted at Emory University. Researchers reported in Lancet, an online medical journal, that influenza vaccines in the form of band-aids have been successfully tested on a group of random healthy young individuals. The effects produced by the patch in its trial run produced similar responses to the flu shot, giving the study a promising start.

Band-Aid look

The patch is said to sport the bandage look on one side while the other applicable side carries an array of arranged 100 cone-shaped micro-needles.

The size of the needles is over a millimeter in height and it contains polyvinyl alcohol, sugar, and the vaccine.

The band-aid is applied to the back of the wrist. A little pressure is applied to allow the needles to penetrate the outer layer of the skin. On penetration, the microneedles dissolve and the vaccine is successfully administered. Those who used the patch reported a slight itching at the site of application. There was no pain either on application or on the site after administration. The applicants also experienced the typical side effects of the vaccine like a light headache and some nausea.

Advantages

The vaccination patch is a breakthrough in vaccination technology. Not only is the patch free of any medical administration requirements, it is also reportedly stable at room temperature.

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Most vaccinations can not be stored at room temperature. This means the patches could be available in the pharmacy over the counter for the average man. A patch vaccination would also relieve us of needle requirements and disposal concerns.

If such a vaccine were to become available, vaccination intake would most likely rise as well. In the US especially, around half the population chooses to skip the vaccine. A simple patch would encourage people to take them. Furthermore, export of such vaccines to countries that lack medical facilities and expertise would be very easy. A casual experiment with Flu vaccine may also lead to the development of other patch vaccines. A band-aid would definitely be less scary to children and definitely less painful.

Thus the success of the band-aid influenza vaccine is a promising sign for the future. Efforts to develop patchable polio vaccines are also underway. This could make a polio-free world, a reality very soon.