A small adhesive patch that contains tiny microarray “needles” made from vaccine in dry form could be a big step forward in vaccine delivery in low-income countries, says Steve Damon, CEO of Micron Biomedical. The patch does not need refrigeration or clean water to dilute the vaccine, which typically comes in multi-dose concentrated form. As well as measles and rubella, rabies, tuberculosis and hepatitis B also are being tested in patches. While the early clinical trial news is promising, scientists say it could take at least five to seven years before the patch is available for sale. That will require much larger clinical trials and authorization from a country's regulatory agencies -- as well as a willingness by manufacturers to spend money on the technology. However, international organizations are already thinking about how to increase access to these novel vaccine systems, which are likely to cost more than the current standard of care.

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