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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An adhesive bandage may be the future of vaccines. It’s covered in 100 microneedles that dissolve in the skin within minutes. Researchers used the experimental patch with a flu vaccine and found it was as effective as a traditional shot, according to a preliminary study.

The Band-Aid like patch has 100 solid, water-soluble and painless microneedles that are just long enough to penetrate the skin. Researchers say it could offer a pain-free and more convenient alternative to flu shots.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University led the study. The results were published online June 27 in The Lancet.

“We designed it so that people could self-administer just with the press of a thumb,” explained Dr. Mark Prausnitz from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The study of 100 adults found the patch to be safe and effective.

“It also allowed subjects who were vaccinated to mount an excellent immune response,” said Dr. Nadine Rouphael from Emory University School of Medicine.

The patch did not cause any serious side effects and reactions were mild with some redness and itching.

More than 70-percent preferred the patch over the usual injections which researchers say could increase vaccination rates.

“Our goal is to make it so that people can receive their flu vaccination and be able to do that at home by themselves without the complexities of having to know how to use a needle and syringe, or really have to go to a doctor or a nurse to have that done,” explained Dr. Prausnitz.

Scientists hope to have the flu vaccine patch available within 5 years.

Researchers also say the vaccine patch can be stored and distributed without being refrigerated.

Microneedle patches are also being developed for other vaccines like measles, rubella and polio.

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