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Updated on: Saturday, October 30, 2021, 10:56 AM IST

Coming Soon: Needle-Free COVID-19 vaccine patches that are pain free & of higher efficacy - All you need to know

Most importantly, skin patches could facilitate in distribution efforts, as they don't have cold-chain requirements -- and might even ramp up vaccine efficacy.
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Washington: Needle-free COVID vaccine, which will be effective and pain free will soon be a reality according to a report by NDTV.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, researchers have put in all their efforts to develop patches that administer the life-saving drops painlessly to the skin in a technique that could revolutionize medicine.

The development could come as a good news for children and adults who fear the syringes. Most importantly, skin patches could facilitate in distribution efforts, as they don't have cold-chain requirements -- and might even ramp up vaccine efficacy.

A new mouse trail in the area, published in the journal Science Advances, showed impressive results.

The US-Australian team used patches that measured one square centimeter and were dotted with more than 5,000 microscopic spikes, "so tiny you can't actually see them," David Muller, a virologist at the University of Queensland and co-author of the paper, told AFP.

These tips of the spikes have been coated with an experimental vaccine, and the patch is clicked on with an applicator that looks like a hockey puck. "It's like you get a good flick on the skin," said Muller.

The study made use of a so-called "subunit" vaccine which reproduces the spikes that dot the surface of the virus.

Mice were injected either through the patch over the course of two minutes, or with a syringe.

The immune systems of the ones who received the patch made high levels of neutralizing antibodies after 2 doses, notably, including in their lungs, crucial to curbing COVID. Interestingly, the patches outperformed syringes.

The trail also found that a sub-group of mice, who were administered only one dose of vaccine having an additional substance called an adjuvant used to spur immune response, "didn't get sick at all," Muller said.

What makes the patches more effective is the fact that vaccines are generally injected into our muscles, but muscle tissue doesn't possess very many immune cells required to react to the drug, explained Muller. Moreover, the tiny spikes results in localized skin death, which alerts the body to a problem, triggering a superior immune response.

Speaking of its future, the patch used in the research published on Friday was created by Australian company Vaxxas, which is the furthest along, with trails on humans planned from April.

Besides, two other American companies, Micron Biomedical and Vaxess are also part of the race.

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Published on: Saturday, October 30, 2021, 10:56 AM IST
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