Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a method to administer the measles vaccine through a microneedle patch, which they determined was at least as effective as the traditional vaccine delivered via hypodermic needle. The study—published in the journal Vaccine—found that the dried measles vaccine applied to the microneedles was effective for at least 30 days and quickly released in the skin. According to lead author Chris Edens, graduate student at the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, “We showed in this study that measles vaccine delivered using a microneedle patch produced an immune response that is indistinguishable from the response produced when the vaccine is delivered subcutaneously.” Microneedle patches could give a boost to international immunization programs against measles, as they would eliminate the need to transport needles, syringes, and sterile water; enable personnel with less medical training to apply them via door-to-door campaigns; and minimize waste. Researchers now hope to eliminate the need for refrigeration by improving the dry vaccine’s stability and eliminate the need to dispose of potentially infectious waste by creating microneedles that fully dissolve in the skin.
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