Vaccination Via Patch

Trypanophobia – the extreme, irrational fear of needles – is said to affect 10% of American adults. And then there are the merely squeamish ones, for whom getting a shot may not be a panic-attack-inducing experience, but is certainly an unpleasant one. Now, a new flu vaccine patch developed by researchers at Emory University and engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology may alleviate the needle-averse.


The patch is covered in 100 "microneedles" filled with a freeze-dried version of the flu vaccine, so small they don't hurt. Both the fluid and the patch itself dissolve into the skin within minutes.

Though only tested on mice so far, the patch offers much promise for humans. According to Mark Prausnitz, the lead chemical engineer on the project, our bodies are wired to expect first contact with pathogens on the surface – the skin, nose and digestive tract – so a vaccine administered right there, rather than injected deep-tissue in a muscle, may actually be more effective than a needle-based one.

The patch is particularly promising for the developing world, where it offers not only an easy, compact, even self-serve way of delivering vaccines, but also a sustainable, virtually waste-free way of disposing of them.

Prausnitz believes the technology is ready for human implementation and is currently seeking funding.

via NPR

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less