The new microneedle patch — MicroHyala — is dissolvable in water. The tiny needles are made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance that cushions the joints. When the patch is applied like a plaster, the needles pierce the top layer of skin and dissolve into the body, taking the vaccine with them.
“Our novel transcutaneous vaccination using a dissolving microneedle patch is the only application vaccination system that is readily adaptable for widespread practical use,” said Professor Shinsaku Nakagawa, one of the authors of the study from Osaka University. “Because the new patch is so easy to use, we believe it will be particularly effective in supporting vaccination in developing countries.”
Previous research has evaluated the use of microneedles made of silicon or metal, but they were not shown to be safe. Microneedles made from these materials also run the risk of breaking off in the skin, leaving tiny fragments behind. The new dissolvable patch eliminates this risk, as the microneedles are designed to dissolve in the skin.