An innovative new delivery method for flu vaccines could help spread preventative medicine while relieving stress on the existing health system.
The South Africa Node writes,
"Researchers, led by Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Institute of Technology, are hopeful that soon annual flu injections could come in the mail. The new vaccine delivery method, a patch with micro-needles, could change the way the flu vaccines are perceived and administered. Micro-needles, attached to a patch that can be applied like a plaster to the skin, are so small they can hardly be felt and barely penetrate the skin before they dissolve and release the vaccine. The researchers are currently seeking funds to begin human clinical trials. To date the patch has been tested on mice. The research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health."
The South Africa node writes, "If successful, this innovation may help Sub-Saharan countries reduce the burden on their healthcare systems, making the delivery of an important preventative mechanism convenient (delivery via the post etc.), more affordable and also increasing its accessibility to those outside urban centres. Furthermore, it eliminates the need to dispose of hypodermic needles and allows self administration of the vaccine, removing the need to consult medically trained staff." IFTF adds that these strategies could further relieve the existing burden on health care professionals, already stretched thin in many areas.
South Africa Node Aug 2010, pg. 8