Microneedles Research from Prausnitz Lab Featured in TIME.com
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Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience
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What if, instead of having to brave a hypodermic needle each time you needed a shot, you could simply slap on a patch and go about your day? According to some preliminary research from scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, that possibility may be just a few years off. The group of scientists, led by Mark Prausnitz, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Georgia Tech, have developed a patch that has five rows of tiny "microneedles" about as wide as human hairs that can be used to painlessly administer vaccines and other medications. To test the efficiency of the new device, Prausnitz and his colleagues gave the flu vaccine to a group of mice, half by way of traditional injection, and half using the new microneedle patch. Later, the mice were exposed to the live flu virus, after which the scientists tested their immune responses and levels of antibodies. They found that the vaccine, administered via the patch, yielded the exact same level of protection as a traditional shot.