September 18, 2019 (Medical News Today)
Scientists have been attempting to create needle free vaccinations for almost 20 years, but a new skin patch may be the first needle free vaccination to actually be effective in warding off influenza.
Lead researcher Dr. Benjamin L. Miller from the University of Rochester Medical Center believes he was able to develop a way for the skin patch to be an effective vaccination method and published his findings in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Dr. Miller noted that the protein claudin-1 makes it difficult for toxins and allergens to permeate through the skin, but that there is a peptide that temporarily blocks claudin-1 without causing toxic side effects.
Through a series of experiments on human skin cells and eventually mice, Dr. Miller was able to create a skin patch using this peptide to open the skin barrier to administer the vaccine, and upon removing the patch, the skin barrier returned to normal within 24 hours.
Furthermore, these patches had no observable effects on the mice’s skin 3 months after the patch was removed.
More animal studies must be completed in order to ensure this patch is a feasible option for human trial, but nonetheless, it is a promising step towards developing a needle free vaccination method that is quick and cheap to administer.