A Band-Aid-like patch does away with big, scary needles and could be available over-the-counter.
The patch replaces one large needle with 100 tiny dissolvable ones on a patch.
Once the microneedles pierce the skin, they dissolve and the vaccine enters the blood stream.
The invention has been tested on mice with effective results.
For most people, the worst thing about getting a vaccination is the big, scary hypodermic needle. So researchers have invented a new vaccine-delivery system that replaces the large single needle with 100 tiny dissolvable ones embedded in a Band-Aid-like patch.
The new patch can immunize mice against influenza just as effectively as conventional needle vaccination, its developers report online July 18 in Nature Medicine.
The new patch is coated with 100 microneedles that are shorter than a nickel's thickness. Lead study author Sean Sullivan, who conducted the research while at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, likens the patch to a Band-Aid with a bunch of tiny needles sticking out on the sticky side.