Patch It Up! The flu shot of the future



FLORIDA,None - BACKGROUND: Seasonal influenza, commonly called "the flu," is caused by influenza viruses, which infect the respiratory tract (the nose, throat, and lungs). Unlike many other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, the flu can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people. Flu seasons can be unpredictable and severe. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of annual flu-associated deaths in the U.S. range from about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is by getting a vaccination each year. (SOURCE: 

Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or talks. You can inhale the droplets directly or pick up the germs from an object such as a telephone or computer keyboard and then transfer them to your eyes, nose or mouth.

(SOURCE: Mayo Clinic)

SYMPTOMS: Initially, the flu may seem like a common cold with symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat. However, colds usually develop slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly. Although a cold can be a nuisance, you usually feel much worse with the flu. Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Aching muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nasal congestion

THE PATCH:  Development of the new microneedle vaccine patch began in 2007. There are several advantages of the patch. First, vaccine delivery into the skin is desirable because of the skin's rich immune network. Other advantages include more convenient storage, simple administration, easier transportation and lower dosage requirements. These advantages may make it possible for patients to apply the patches themselves without specialized training. In addition, replacing a hypodermic needle with the patch could be beneficial in developing countries. The patch could fit inside an envelope for delivery by the postal service and would occupy much less storage space. The patches would also increase vaccine safety by reducing the dangers of accidental or intentional re-use of a hypodermic needle. (SOURCE: