Microneedles are "micron-scale needles fabricated using low-cost manufacturing methods that administer vaccine into the skin using a simple device that may be suitable for self-administration." (Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2009;333:369-93. Microneedle-based vaccines. Prausnitz MR, Mikszta JA, Cormier M, Andrianov AK.) Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology published this paper.
The small, hollow needles have many advantages
- the pain response is much lower than with intramuscular injections
- lower doses yield equal results to intramuscular injections
- the microneedle patch is inexpensive to fabricate
- self-administration, or administration by someone other than a trained healthworker is possible