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21-07-2010 | Article

Drug delivery patch effective for flu vaccination

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: A drug delivery patch that contains dissolving microneedles is effective for influenza vaccination and offers a viable and painless alternative to traditional hypodermic needles, say researchers.

"The dissolving microneedle patch could open up many new doors for immunization programs by eliminating the need for trained personnel to carry out the vaccination," said lead researcher Mark Prausnitz from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

"This approach could make a significant impact because it could enable self-administration as well as simplify vaccination programs in schools and assisted living facilities."

To investigate the effectiveness of the patch, Prausnitz and team studied three groups of mice. The first group of mice received the influenza vaccine via traditional hypodermic needles injecting into muscle, while the second group received the vaccine through the patch applied to the skin. The third control group of mice received a microneedle patch containing no vaccine.

When infected with the influenza virus 30 days later, both groups of mice that had received the vaccine remained healthy, whereas mice in the control group developed influenza and died.

The researchers also found that 3 months after vaccination, mice that received influenza vaccination via the patch appeared to have better "recall" immune responses to the virus than those that received vaccine with hypodermic needles, and were therefore able to clear the virus from their lungs more effectively.

Prausnitz and team conclude in the journal Nature Medicine: "Overall, these results show that dissolving microneedle patches offer an attractive approach to administer influenza vaccine with improved safety, immunogenicity, and logistical operations that may enable an increased population coverage for influenza vaccination.

"The dissolving microneedle vaccine patch developed in this study also provides a new platform technology for simple administration of other vaccines and medicines to skin without the need for hypodermic needles."

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen