Two new studies find lower doses of the flu vaccine work just as well as the standard dose in healthy young adults. This is something that could increase the flu vaccine supply by five times. So, what's the trick? Delivering a lower dose into the skin instead of the muscle.
"The skin is a very competent and very capable immune system, so when you deliver a vaccine into the skin, you have a much better immune response so dose for dose the vaccine delivered into the skin is much more potent," says Dr. Gregory Glenn, Iomai Corp.
So far, the studies show the low dose vaccine sparks some immune response in people over age 60, but not as much as the standard injected dose. Dr. Glenn says the skin delivery technique works much the same way as a TB skin test.
Other than some minor skin irritation, the studies found no side effects in people who got the skin vaccine compared to those who got the injected vaccine. Both studies are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers say they made government health officials aware of their findings very early on. Dr. Glenn's study involved 100 healthy people between 18 and 40. The companion study involved 238 people, half of whom were over age 60. The older study participants had a lower immune system response to the skin vaccine compared to the response they had from the traditional intramuscle vaccine, but don't look for this new development to be approved soon.
NewsChannel 11 will keep you posted.