A flu patch has been tested for the first time during a clinical trial and researchers believe that the patches protect humans as much as flu shots. This is great news for those out there who are afraid of needles.
Why is this important?
It is important because it can help increase the number of people who get immunized against the flu. Some people do not get the flu shot because they are afraid of needles and some just do not have time to go and get it done. With a patch that can easily be found in pharmacies, flue epidemics can be better surprised.
Another reason to control the influenza in some seasons is to stop the number of deaths cause by the disease. World-wide half of million death attributed to influenza occur each year and in the U.S between 12,000 and 56,000.
Mark Prausnitz, an engineer from Georgia Tech has researched the use of “microneedles”. A patch with microneedles (100 of them) can fit under the thumb.
The use of microneedles has been studied by a team of health researchers: Dr. Nadine Rouphael and researchers from Emory University Hope Clinic. For the clinical trial, a hundred subjects were divided into two groups and they were immunized with the band aid. One group received the patched by a healthcare professional, while the other group applied the patched by themselves. A third group got the traditional flu shot and a forth group received an empty patch (placebo). The first three groups had 75% of their subjects protected after six months.
All in all, the microneedle patched has been proven effective to protect humans against influenza. Also, the subjects who participated in the trial were satisfied with the method. They did not find the patch uncomfortable (they had to use it for 20 minutes).