'Painless' skin patch could spell the end of flu jab
A flu vaccine skin patch that could one day replace traditional jabs has passed the first stage of testing.
Scientists who used the patch on 100 healthy patients found that it was safe, well-tolerated and as effective at generating immunity as a vaccine administered by hypodermic needle.
The patch can be administered at home by the recipients and is worn like a plaster for just a few minutes.
It was also strongly preferred to an injection by the participants.
The sticky patch is covered with microscopic needles which deliver the vaccine under the skin before dissolving.
Results of the first human Phase I trial are reported in the latest issue of 'The Lancet' medical journal.
Lead researcher Dr Nadine Rouphael, from Emory University School of Medicine in the US, said: "Having the option of a flu vaccine that can be easily and painlessly self-administered could increase coverage and protection by this important vaccine."
The patch could lead to major cost savings and significantly increase the number of people willing to be vaccinated, the scientists said.