Vaccine Patch Image
A vaccine patch. (Credit: University of Queensland)

A needle-free vaccine patch could better fight COVID-19 variants, such as omicron and delta, than a traditional needle vaccine. The research tested the Hexapro SARS-CoV-2 spike vaccine using the Vaxxas high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) technology, and the results found the patch was far more effective at neutralizing COVID-19 variants.

Researchers say the vaccine patch appeared to counteract new variants more effectively than the current SARs-CoV-2 vaccine delivered by injection. The high-density microarray patch is a vaccine delivery platform that precisely delivers the vaccine into the layers of the skin that are rich in immune cells. The researchers found that vaccination via a patch was approximately 11 times more effective at combatting the Omicron variant when compared with the same vaccine administered via a needle.

Currently available vaccines may not be as effective because of the constantly emerging new variants of COVID-19, and this has left researchers at a crossroads. According to the researchers, the large number of mutations have given the virus the ability to evade the immune responses generated by the current vaccines.

Patch technology has the potential to offer a new — and more effective — alternative. The patches are not only more effective against emerging variants but are also far easier to administer than needle-based vaccines.