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.

Why American history lives between the cracks

The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?

Videos
  • History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
  • In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
  • Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
Keep reading Show less

Juice is terrible for children. Why do we keep giving it to them?

A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.

Pixabay user Stocksnap
popular

Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you. 

Keep reading Show less

Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
Keep reading Show less