Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 02, 2014

Future Vaccinations Might Come in Patches, Instead of Needles

Are you or your children afraid of needles? Vaccinations are an important part about keeping people safe from several deadly and crippling diseases, yet the discomfort of a pinprick is enough to scare many away from wanting to take injections in the first place. However a series of emerging technologies are looking at alternative methods for delivering injections through nanopatch vaccines, effectively stickers smaller than a fingernail that transfer the vaccination through the skin.

Though the needle-free delivery sector is currently an extremely small sector of the total drug delivery market, Frost & Sullivan predict that the next five to ten years will see a major growth in the use transdermal and intradermal systems within the vaccine industry, as well as other delivery methods like inhalers, tablets and pulmonary delivery methods.

“The delivery of drugs through needle-free devices is gaining acceptance owing to the availability f more formulations for needle-free deliveries,” claims Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Research Analyst Swathi Allada. “Significant advancements have been made, most of which have centered on addressing patient comfort levels and increasing the adoption of self-injectable therapies.”

Already, nanopatches are proving to be quite effective. A densely packed group of microscopic needles are able to penetrate the skin without any pain, and can inject vaccinations for diseases directly through the micro projections. This also reduces the amount of damage to the skin cell membranes either, which means the injection will also avoid the typical swelling and bruising associated with traditional needle vaccinations.

Currently, the technology is still awaiting clinical trials on humans, although testing with animal subjects has proved incredibly successful. Once the nanopatches receive approval from the Food and Drug administration, the involved technology will quickly gain momentum as it is used by both patients and physicians.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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