What if you could get the flu vaccine in the form of a small patch that you could apply on your own, without having to go to a health professional? Perhaps you could even buy the flu patch over the Internet and have it mailed to your home!

That future may not be that far off, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. They’ve developed a small patch with 50 tiny dissolvable needles that penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. The patch itself (without vaccine) has been tested extensively on human volunteers, according to an article in the April 1 issue of Vaccine (pp. 1856-1862). An abstract of the article can be viewed here.

Clinical trials with patches loaded with vaccine may begin as early as next year. Provided it works, the flu patch could become available within a couple more years. Think of it. No trip to a health facility for an annual flu shot. No needle and no muscle soreness later. Cheaper, more convenient, and less painful – what’s not to love about that?

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