Self-administered flu vaccine patch passes first clinical trial

Having a fear of needles may not prevent patients from receiving their flu shot much longer. Developed by researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory Universities, a new patch embedded with microneedles provides patients the option to manually administer the flu shot at home.

With the results published in The Lancet, the Phase I trial tested the microneedle patch on 100 participants to identify any adverse effects and benefits compared to a needle. Participants were split into four groups where they 1) administered the patch from a healthcare provider, 2) were instructed to self-administer the patch, 3) received a traditional flu shot using a needle and 4) were given a placebo patch. Patients were monitored at seven days, 28 days and 180 days post-procedure.

Results showed no participants experienced significant adverse effects. The most common side effects reported were tenderness after injection by needle and tenderness, redness and itching from the microneedle patch.

Although this study is the first step in testing the new technology, researchers are confident the patch could bring multiple benefits to patients and providers. Researchers hope that by giving patients the patch to self-administer, they will save money while providers increase the number of vaccines administered.