A biotech company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is working on a patch that would be used to administer a combination vaccine for both COVID and the seasonal flu.
“Think of a nicotine patch for vaccines,” Vaxess Technologies CEO Michael Schrader said. “COVID is going to start to look a lot more like influenza, we see new strains emerging, and unfortunately our best estimation is that’s going to require seasonal boosters.”
But instead of having to go somewhere to get a shot, Schrader says the patch could be shipped to people’s homes or purchased at a pharmacy, making it more easily accessible for people who want seasonal protection.
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It eliminates the need for the needle, the syringe, and freezers. It would be do-it-yourself. The patch is applied to the forearm.
“It’s got an array of very, very tiny microscopic needles,” said Schrader. “So when you apply that patch, those needles just barely break the surface of your skin, just enough to get the vaccine into the skin, after five minutes of wear time the vaccine is delivered into the skin.”
The company recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to work on the product, but it still needs to go through clinical trials and FDA approval -- that means the patch might not be ready for the market for a couple of years.
The company won’t say how much the patch could cost at retail.