A study published this week found that a press-on patch that delivers the influenza vaccine may work just as well as a traditional vaccine.
The study, published on Tuesday in The Lancet, examined microneedle patches, which “provide an alternative to conventional needle-and-syringe immunization, and potentially offer improved immunogenicity, simplicity, cost-effectiveness, acceptability, and safety.”
Proponents of the press-on patch hope that this version of the vaccine will be cheaper and easier to give than a regular influenza vaccine. Ideally, press-on patches may also be bought and taken home to administer.
“Microneedle patches have the potential to become ideal candidates for vaccination programs, not only in poorly resourced settings, but also for individuals who currently prefer not to get vaccinated, potentially even being an attractive vaccine for the pediatric population,” wrote Dr. Katja Höschler and Dr. Maria Zambon from Public Health England in a commentary in The Lancet.
“We were pleased to see that the immune response was excellent,” Dr. Nadine Rouphael of the Emory University School of Medicine told NBC News.
This study was the first test involving press-on patches to use a real influenza vaccine, and was a phase 1 trial, designed in large part to show the safety of the study in roughly 100 volunteers. The research performed was not large enough to demonstrate whether the press-on patch actually prevented any cases of influenza.
“There were no treatment-related serious adverse events,” wrote the Emory University School of Medicine researchers.