Researchers from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new vaccine-delivery patch based on hundreds of microscopic needles that dissolve into the skin after application. The needles are just 650 microns in length and are assembled into an array of 100 needles. Application is painless and after application the needles quickly dissolve, leaving no sharps behind. The method eliminates the use of hypodermic needles and would allow for self-administration of vaccines. As the vaccine is delivered intradermally where there are many resident antigen-presenting cells, vaccination could potentially be even more effective than regular vaccination. Initial results are reported in the advance online publication of Nature Medicine, showing that vaccination against influenza using the patch was at least as effective as using hypodermic needle vaccination, and indeed by some measures more effective.
Article abstract: Dissolving polymer microneedle patches for influenza vaccination