Needle-free jab developed to beat injection phobia

July 19th, 2010 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 19 (IANS) Scientists have developed a skin patch to administer vaccines without the need for a jab.
Researchers say it could pave the way for ‘mail-order’ inoculations. Instead of one large needle, hundreds of microscopic needles set into a patch dissolve into the skin painlessly, reports the Telegraph.

The new system could allow non-medically trained people or even patients themselves to administer vaccines, particularly in the Third World.

Studies on mice have shown that the microneedles can deliver vaccine and it as effective as conventional methods, according to the journal Nature Medicine.

Researchers from the Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, US, are believed to be the first to evaluate whether vaccines delivered using these microneedle systems are as effective as the ordinary ones.

Mark Prausnitz, professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, said: “In this study, we have shown that a dissolving microneedle patch can vaccinate against influenza at least as well, and probably better than, a traditional hypodermic needle.

“The dissolving microneedle patch could open up many new doors for immunisation programs by eliminating the need for trained personnel to carry out the vaccination.

“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.”

Several other needleless methods have been developed to administer drugs, including gels, skin patches, tabs that dissolve under the tongue and powder jets that force medicine through the skin under pressure.

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