Virtually painless microneedle vaccine patches are more effective at delivering protection against influenza virus than traditional shots, according to a new study in mice.
The findings, published in the online journal mBio, suggest the patches can effectively be used, especially for people who are afraid of needles, and poses fewer risks than hypodermic needles.
Researchers at Emory University and Georgia Tech research team said skin responds better than muscle tissue to vaccination with these tiny, virtually painless microneedles for several reasons. The skin, in contrast to the muscles, contains a rich network of immune-system cells that drive the body’s defense mechanisms.
The researchers’ experiments found that microneedle skin immunization generated a strong iimmune response against the virus in the mice tested and would likely do the same in humans.
"Our research reveals new details of the complex but efficient immune response to influenza virus provided by microneedle skin patches," said Dr. Richard W. Compans, an Emory immunology specialist. "Vaccine delivery to the skin by microneedles is painless, and offers other advantages such as eliminating potential risks due to use of hypodermic needles."