Pick a Patch
A self-administered patch containing tiny microneedles may effectively deliver influenza virus-like particles through the skin and protect against potentially pandemic flu viruses such as H5N1, according to a report in a recent issue of Clinical Vaccine and Immunology.
In the study, researchers vaccinated mice with microneedle patches containing influenza H5 virus-like particles (VLPs) derived from the H5N1 virus and found the resulting protective immunity to be equal to or higher than that induced from intramuscular inoculation.
Significantly, human skin cells also responded to the influenza VLP vaccine delivered by the microneedle patch.
The researchers believe microneedle vaccination represents a promosing approach to self-vaccination that could potentially ward off pandemic infections.
What do you think? Could a vaccine relying on VLPs be the answer to emerging strains with pandemic proportions? Would a self-administered vaccine reduce some of the burden on healthcare professionals? Would vaccination rates increase if a painless patch was released to the public?