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Disappearing Needles: Vaccine-Delivery Patch with Dissolving Microneedles Eliminates “Sharps” Waste and Improves Pro

Posted Jul 19 2010 2:28pm

This sequence of images shows microneedles dissolving into pig skin before, one minute after and five minutes after pressing into the skin.
A new vaccine-delivery patch based on hundreds of microscopic needles that dissolve into the skin could allow persons without medical training to painlessly administer vaccines – while providing improved immunization against diseases such as influenza.

Patches containing micron-scale needles that carry vaccine with them as they dissolve into the skin could simplify immunization programs by eliminating the use of hypodermic needles – and their “sharps” disposal and re-use concerns. Applied easily to the skin, the microneedle patches could allow self-administration of vaccine during pandemics and simplify large-scale immunization programs in developing nations.

Details of the dissolving microneedle patches and immunization benefits observed in experimental mice were reported July 18 in the advance online publication of the journal Nature Medicine. Conducted by researchers from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, the study is believed to be the first to evaluate the immunization benefits of dissolving microneedles. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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