Dissolvable Microneedles Used to Vaccinate Through the Skin
A big vaccine deterrent is the pain associated with the needle. Delivering vaccines through a dissolvable skin patch removes any discomfort and can offer greater protection from the pathogen. These skin patches are called microneedles and are made of sugar, allowing them to penetrate and dissolve in the dermal layer of the skin. The vaccine then activates Langerhans cells, or the immune cells in residence in the dermal layer. Activation of these cells lead to systemic immunity, as well as mucosal immunity. This two-pronged immune response allows for protection from severe illness, which injectable vaccines provide, but additionally, vaccines delivered through dissolvable skin patches prevent pathogens from entering through our mucosal membranes. The overall goal of this research is to increase vaccination by removing the pain of needles and improving the immune protection gained from the vaccine.