Patch heralds new era in battle against pandemics

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A revolutionary way of vaccinating against infectious diseases has been invented by scientists who have developed a skin patch containing an influenza vaccine.

The patch does away with needles and syringes and could transform the battle against future pandemics by painlessly inoculating patients with vaccines that could be sent out in the post and self-administered in the home by somebody with no medical experience.

In the developing world, the skin patches could eliminate the need for the costly medical infrastructure of mass-vaccination campaigns, which require trained medical personnel to inject vaccines, and expensive storage equipment. Skin patches also bypass the hazards of dirty needles.

The skin patch is "armed" with an array of microscopic needles made of biodegradable plastic that painlessly scratch the surface of the skin and dissolve harmlessly without trace after delivering the vaccine safely inside the body.

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