A new skin patch, through which the COVID-19 vaccine is given, can provide more effective immune protection than traditional injectable vaccines, experiments in lab animals show.
The "patch" vaccine can be stored at room temperature and placed without the need for medical staff, which makes it ideal for places without refrigeration infrastructure and with a shortage of doctors and nurses.
According to the researchers, the vaccines given in this way cause a stronger immune response, because the skin is full of immune cells.
Researchers led by David Mahler of the University of Queensland in Australia, who published the paper in the journal Science Advances, according to New Scientist, have spent years developing vaccines in the form of skin patches for various diseases ( flu, dengue fever, polio, etc.) and now use this know-how against the new coronavirus.
The patch is one centimeter wide and has 5,000 tiny plastic needles 0.25 millimeters long each, which are coated with a dried vaccine, which is more stable than its usually liquid form. The patch is painlessly pressed against the skin and so the vaccine enters the body.
According to the researchers, the vaccines given in this way cause a stronger immune response, because the skin is full of immune cells. According to Dr. Mahler, when the flu vaccine is given through the skin, a dose of only one-sixth of the normal dose of an injectable vaccine is enough.
The researchers tested the patch with a candidate COVID-19 vaccine, the University of Texas HexaPro, which is in clinical trials. Rodents vaccinated with the patch developed more antibodies than those who received the vaccine by injection.
The HexaPro vaccine remained stable for at least one month in the patch when stored at 25 degrees Celsius and for one week when the maintenance temperature was 40 degrees. The first trial of the COVID-19 vaccine in human skin patch will begin in 2022.