Website spotlight: Vaccination in the form of a patch

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, September 10, 2010

Imagine if you only had to walk to your mailbox or your local supermarket in order to be vaccinated for influenza. And you could do it all yourself—no lines, no appointments, no doctors, and perhaps most importantly, no needles.

A new study published in the July 18 issue of Nature Medicine indicates this scenario is a real possibility in years to come. This method of self-administered vaccines (particularly influenza vaccines) directly enters the skin in the form of a patch-smaller than a penny-consisting of many microneedles that dissolve into the skin within minutes.

Researchers tested the prototype on mice and found that this method of vaccination generated immune responses "that provided complete protection against lethal challenge" of influenza. Results suggested that influenza vaccines in this form could provide a simpler and safer method, improve resistance and immune response, and could change the way people view flu shots.

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