ATLANTA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new microneedle patch that could make it easier to vaccinate against measles and other diseases.
According to the CDC, the patch is still under development but could be administered by minimally trained workers, and is easier to store, distribute and dispose of compared to traditional vaccines.
So what makes this so special?
In essence, patients can think of it like a small, centimeter long Band-Aid.
One side of the patch is lined with 100 microneedles that contain the vaccine.
The CDC assured us that the needles were very small; only measuring at a fraction of a millimeter long.
When applied, the tiny needles press into the upper layer of the skin and dissolve within minutes.
Once the vaccine is released, the patch can be thrown away.
The CDC said they were hoping the patch will make a difference worldwide.
“Each day, 400 children are killed by measles complications worldwide. With no needles, syringes, sterile water or sharps disposals needed, the microneedle patch offers great hope of a new tool to reach the world’s children faster, even in the most remote areas,” said James Goodson, Ph.D., epidemiologist from the CDC’s Global Immunization Division. “This advancement would be a major boost in our efforts to eliminate this disease, with more vaccines administered, and more lives saved at less cost.”
The CDC listed several reasons the patch would be a better method of vaccinating in the long run.
Costing about the same to produce, the patch takes up less space than needles, is more stable in different temperatures and will reduce the risk of accidental needle sticks.
It is estimated 20 million people contract measles each year.
For more information about the patch click here.