Microneedle H1N1 vaccine shown to protect better than standard vaccine

Researchers from Emory University and Georgia Tech University have found that a vaccine delivered to the skin using a microneedle patch offers better protection against the H1N1 influenza virus than a standard vaccine.

Mice that were given a single H1N1 vaccine using a coated metal microneedle patch maintained high levels of protection and antibody protection six months after injection, compared to a 60 percent decrease in antibody production found in a subcutaneous injection after six months.

“A major goal of influenza vaccine development has been to confer strong immune responses, including immunological memory and cellular immune responses for long-term protection, and to limit virus spread after infection,” Dimitrios Koutsonanos, a post-doctoral fellow of microbiology and immunology at Emory University School of Medicine and the first author of the study, said.

The team previously reported that the delivery of seasonal influenza vaccine through the skin using antigen-coated metal microneedle patches or dissolving microneedles elicited immune responses with protection at least equal to conventional intramuscular injections. The team created dissolving microneedle technology that could be used in painless, easy-to-administer patches.

“The pandemic H1N1 A/California/04/09 influenza virus continues to be the predominant strain,” Ioanna Skountzou, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Emory University School of Medicine and the lead researcher, said. “Our research shows that skin-based vaccination, made possible through microneedle technology, may now be a viable and more effective alternative to intramuscular injection for H1N1 flu and other strains as well.”