No one likes getting a flu shot, or any shot for that matter. But they’re probably worth it when considering the alternative, which includes fever, chills, and muscle aches. According to a recent Futurity article, flu shots are about to get a lot less painful by ditching the needle for a patch. Scientists have been developing a needle-free vaccine for nearly 20 years, but have consistently fallen short. The new flu vaccine patch, which looks like a small piece of tape, was tested on mice and proved to effectively open the skin barrier without physical changes in the skin or risk of infection.
The new vaccine patch could provide a non-invasive way of administering vaccines quickly and inexpensively for large groups of people with a lot of benefits over needles. For example, the patch doesn’t need to be refrigerated, it can be administered by anyone, and there are no concerns about disposing or reusing needles. The patch seems like a no-brainer, but it still has a ways to go before it’s ready for widespread use. The team behind it hopes to conduct human trials soon.