A painless alternative to the flu vaccine

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Researchers at Emory University, Georgia, USA, have recently developed a painless, protective patch for influenza virus, which is equivalent to taking the respective vaccine.

It is a new alternative to conventional vaccination, this consists of a small patch, with micro-needles (but painless), similar to a fast dressing. A study published in the scientific journal The Lancet, proved that, in addition to the application being equally effective in the vaccine, the volunteers preferred the new method to the traditional one.

Researchers at Emory University have been able to develop this comfortable method and claim that it protects the flu virus in a manner equivalent to taking the vaccine. It is a small patch that, according to its creators, is also cheaper and can be mailed, which allows people to vaccinate at home without any professional help. In addition, it does not need refrigeration, since it can be kept stable for a year, at a temperature up to 40ºC.

“This product, which can be self-administered and tolerated by all, has the potential to improve influenza vaccination coverage in the population”, said Nadine Rouphael, co-author of the study, in a video explaining the Youtube channel of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

For the accomplishment of this study 100 people were recruited, aged between 18 and 49 years, and who had not yet been vaccinated against the influenza virus. The volunteers were then randomly assigned to four groups, one of whom received the traditional vaccine in the arm muscle, and three others received the dressings, one administered by professionals and the other by their own, finally a last one that got the placebo patch. This being removed after 20 minutes, after dissolution of the micro-needles.

Responses of the antibodies generated by the vaccine, revealed by analysis of blood samples, were similar to the groups receiving injection. About 96% of the volunteers said that the method was painless, with 70% of them saying they preferred the wound dressing.

According to Mark Prausnitz, a professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the creation could have good results, “One day, hopefully in the near future, it will be much easier for people to have access to the vaccines”, he said.

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