Flu vaccine delivered through skin patches containing microneedles has proven just as effective at preventing influenza in mice as intramuscular, hypodermic flu immunization. A team of researchers at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology believes the new microneedle skin patch method of delivering flu vaccine could improve overall seasonal vaccination coverage in people because of decreased pain, increased convenience, lower cost and simpler logistics over conventional hypodermic immunization.
The research will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Another study by the research team on a different influenza strain was described in the journal PLoS ONE.
The patches used in the experiments contained an array of stainless steel microneedles coated with inactivated influenza virus. The patches were pressed manually into the skin and after a few minutes, the vaccine coating dissolved off within the skin. The coated microneedle immunizations were compared to conventional intramuscular hypodermic injections at the same dose in another group of mice.
The researchers found that the microneedle vaccinations induced strong immune responses against influenza virus that were comparable to immune responses induced by the intramuscular, hypodermic immunizations. One month after vaccination, the researchers infected both groups of mice with a high dose of influenza virus. While all mice in a control group of unvaccinated mice died of influenza, all mice in both the hypodermic and the microneedle groups survived.
"Our findings show that microneedle patches are just as effective at protecting against influenza as conventional hypodermic immunizations," says Richard Compans, PhD, Emory professor of microbiology and immunology and one of the paper's senior authors. "In addition, vaccine delivery into the skin is desirable because of the skin's rich immune network."<
|Contact: Ashante Dobbs|