A New Way To Fight the Flu
Although it is early in the summer season, it will be time to get your flu shot before you know it. Every year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) determines the most prevalent strains of influenza and creates a vaccine to prevent the dominant strains. The World Health Organization has already made recommendations for the flu strains to be included in the 2017-2018 vaccine.
Vaccination by injection may not be an ideal way to deliver a vaccine for everyone, including children and those with a needle phobia. In recent years, the nasal mist treatment was available, but last year the CDC did not recommend a nasal spray for the flu, because it was deemed less effective fighting the strains of flu that were prevalent. The CDC is again recommending against using the nasal mist for the upcoming flu season.
Just last week, researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University released the results of a preliminary study on a flu patch. Researchers say it could offer a pain-free and more convenient alternative to flu shots. The patch has 100 solid, water-soluble and painless microneedles that are just long enough to penetrate the skin. The microneedles dissolve shortly after application with little to no discomfort. The study, funded by the U.S. National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, found that the patch triggered a strong immune response and did not cause any serious side effects. The most severe effect was a local skin reaction to the patches, which involved faint redness and mild itching that lasted two to three days.
The new clinical trial is a preliminary study, so more research is needed before the patch could be made available to the general public. The good news is that, when the patch is available, it could be delivered in the mail and self-administered, eliminating the need to visit your doctor’s office or other flu shot provider to get vaccinated.