Covid vaccine patch could fight variants better than needles, new study finds

Coronavirus booster vaccines to be offered to over 50s in Autumn

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Furthermore, according to a new study, this patch could be more effective than the more traditional needle.

This, at least, is what has been found by scientists from the University of Queensland who have developed a needle free vaccine patch.

What’s more, they say this patch is more effective at fighting COVID-19 variants such as Omicron.

The conclusion has been reached after an initial study conducted on mice.

Conducted in partnership with biotechnology company Vaxxas, the results found the patch was more effective at fighting Covid variants.

Speaking about the patch the University of Queensland’s Dr Christopher McMillan said: “The high density microarray patch is a vaccine delivery platform that precisely delivers the vaccine into the layers of the skin which are rich in immune cells.

“We found that vaccination via a patch was 11 times more effective at combatting the Omicron variant when compared with the same vaccine administered via a needle.”

As a result, the increased efficacy of the patch is down in part to the area of the skin where the vaccine is administered.

Dr McMillan commented the patch worked regardless of vaccine type and said it could help in the fight against new variants of the virus as the current vaccines become less effective.

“This decreased effectiveness was highlighted by the Omicron variant, which contains over 30 mutations in spike protein. However, the patch technology has the potential to offer a new – and more effective – weapon in our arsenal, at a time where new variants are mutating at a rapid rate” added Dr McMillan.

While the results of these tests are promising, it is important to remember they were carried out on mice rather than human subjects.

As a result, further tests are required on human participants to fully judge the efficacy of the vaccine patch.

What is the current COVID-19 situation in the UK?

This summer the UK has been experiencing its fifth wave of coronavirus and record numbers of infections.

However, recent data from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) suggests the nation could be past the peak as cases fell by more than half a million in a week.

Furthermore, there has been a similar drop in COVID-19 infections in hospitals to match.

Head of analytical outputs for the ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey Sarah Crofts said: “Our most recent data suggest that we may now be over the peak of the latest wave of infections across the UK, although rates still remain among the highest seen during the course of the pandemic.

“We have seen welcome decreases among most parts of the UK and in all age groups.

“With summer holidays starting and more people travelling, we will continue to closely monitor the data.”

While COVID-19 remains a threat, there is hope the UK could soon be out of its fifth wave as the country enters August.

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