Showing posts with label influenza. Show all posts

Skin Patches Could be a New Era in Vaccine Against Pandemics

Scientists have unveiled a ground breaking way of treating influenza using innovative skin patches.

The breakthrough has the potential to spell the end of using needles to vaccine against pandemics.

It’s believed that the patches could be sent out in the post and could be administered by anyone with no need for medical training.

The skin patches possess several microscopic needles that are made of biodegradable plastic.

The needles can painlessly enter the surface of the skin and deliver the vaccination into the system.

Tests have so far indicated that the patch can possibly work better than the traditional way of vaccination using syringes.

Experiments have been conducted in laboratory’s on mice and revealed that the patches are better than injections at preventing flu.

This is due to the vaccine entering the body at skin level which is the most important area for the immune system.

In contrast syringes place the vaccine into muscles that are not as adept at producing immune reactions.

Those mice who received a second vaccination, three months after the first vaccination, through skin patches shrugged off influenza easier than the mice who received injections.

Professor Mark Prausnitz of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta who led the research team is confident that the breakthrough has the potential to transform vaccination.

He told the “The dissolving micro needle patch could open many new doors to immunisation programmes by eliminating the need for trained personnel to carry out the vaccination.

“This approach could make a significant impact because it could enable self-administration as well as simplifying vaccination programmes."

Developing World may Benefit From Breakthrough

One of the greatest advantages from the skin patches could be the increased capacity for treating developing world patients.

The reductions in necessary infrastructure has the potential to expand immunisation programmes reaching more of those in need.

Currently inoculating with needles is expensive and needs trained professionals to carry out the injections.

There would also be less of a risk of contamination from dirty needles using the patches, and the problem of how to store needles that need to be reused would also be eradicated.

Skin Patch Vaccination: How it Works

Each skin patch is to be armed with 100 micro needles, made from the plastic polymer polyvinylpyrrolidone, and are already in use for medical equipment that is placed inside the body.

The micro needles, which are six times the thickness of human hair, are then covered with freeze dried vaccine.
After the micro needles have pierced into the skin they dissolve within a few minutes ferrying the vaccine into the most important cells in the immune system, which are prevalent in the skin.

The immune cells inside the skin are designed to capture the ‘antigens’ that are a component of the vaccines.
Further trials involving animals will need to take place and it could be several years scientists believe before the skin patches become used routinely.

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Avoiding H1N1 Influenza

H1N1 Influenza
There are many things that can be done to avoid contracting the Swine flu virus. Some of them are common sense and some of them are absurd and bred out of fear. What needs to be remembered is that this is a flu virus much the same as flu viruses that circulate yearly. And much the same, life must continue and people must utilize strategic and thoughtful ways to avoid, combat, and carry on. Listed below are signs and symptoms of normal life amidst a global flu pandemic.

Symptom #1 Rational Thinking and Absence of Panic

Turning off the television is an integral step in escaping the fear propagated by hourly updates of Swine flu statistics and potential lack of vaccinations available. There is simply too much information coming in and it is difficult to filter out what is pertinent and what is being used to increase viewership, and what is just plain sensationalistic. So, if turning off the TV and considering that this is a flu virus like any other without succumbing to a panic attack is a possibility, it is likely that infection of both flu and fear have been avoided.

Symptom #2 Taking Risks in the Face of Fear

It has been said and repeated over and over again. Probably the most common advice given to prevent H1N1 spread or any other infection is to wash hands often. This is not only to combat the flu but it is just good sense. And if this is done, one need not be afraid to go out in public; to grab the door handle; to push the shopping cart; to pay with cash. After all, there are much more valid fears out there which go by undetected and ignored everywhere, everyday.

Symptom #3 Showing off Fall Fashions

The wind is cooler, the leaves are changing, the nose is running during a brisk walk in the woods and the back of a wool mitten is the only substitute for Kleenex around. Fall is a time of cozy earth toned fashion as much as it marks the beginning of cold and flu season. Except there is one thing often ignored: All of the woodland creatures chattering and foraging and crackling in the crisp foliage are not suffering from H1N1. Getting out of the house, breathing fresh air, expelling a little energy with a mild aerobic workout in a naturally beautiful setting is one of the best, most invigorating and life sustaining things a person can do at any time. Has there ever been such thing as a depressed squirrel in the wild? Put on that new matching wool sweater and scarf and show them off, even if it’s just for a few docile deer.

Symptom #4 Accepting an Invitation to a Public Gathering

Deactivate Facebook, sign out of MSN, Tweet “brb” or even better “gtg.” Go to the staff party, meet someone new, shake their hand, and have a conversation face to face. This is not just to combat H1N1 fears but is generally a good idea. People are still people and human contact is necessary for sound mental health. The winter months are coming and the chances to participate are diminishing. After shaking someone’s hand it is not appropriate or necessary to immediately retrieve the little bottle of hand sanitizer. All signs indicate a healthy immune system.

Symptom #5 Travel and Tourism

The island paradise is still there and the tickets are non-refundable. If anything, the heat and sun and seclusion will alleviate all imagined flu symptoms picked up in the airport. Of course none of these symptoms are valid, just as they aren’t in ninety-nine percent of the other travellers in Pearson or JFK or Heathrow airports. The hotel sheets and remote control are no more suspect than ever before. Consider that the neighbour just backpacked for 3 months across Europe and he is alive and well. Showing off a deep golden tan next to a mountainous fridgid snowbank upon return is the ultimate victory.

So if any of these symptoms are present and active, then it is likely that so far, H1N1 influenza type A, also known as Swine flu, has been thus far avoided.

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