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Microarray patches safe and effective for vaccinating children, trial suggests

The first study of the use of microarray patches to vaccinate children has shown that the method is safe and induces strong immune responses. The phase 1/2 randomized trial compared results from the measles and rubella vaccine delivered by a microarray patch, a small sticking plaster-like device with an array of microscopic projections that painlessly penetrate the skin and deliver the vaccine, or by conventional injection with a needle and syringe.

The trial, which involved 45 adults (18-40 years old), 120 toddlers (15-18 months old) and 120 infants (9-10 months old) in The Gambia, found giving the measles and rubella vaccine by a microarray patch induced an immune response that was as strong as the response when the vaccine was given by conventional injection.

Over 90% of infants were protected from measles and all infants were protected from rubella following a single dose of the vaccine given by the microarray patch. The measles and rubella vaccine used in the study has been given to many millions of children globally by conventional injection and is known to provide reliable protection.

The trial found no safety concerns with delivering the measles and rubella vaccine using a microarray patch.

The trial was led by researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and supported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The patch was developed and manufactured by Micron Biomedical Inc, who sponsored and supported all aspects of the trial. Funding came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Results are published in The Lancet.

The researchers hope microarray patches could help to achieve the very high levels of population immunity required to control childhood diseases such as measles and rubella, with WHO recommending at least 95% two-dose measles vaccine coverage and rubella requiring 80% population immunity. Microarray patches have been determined to be the highest priority innovation for overcoming barriers to immunization in low-resource settings.