Expats, particularly those who are moving to developing countries, are advised to get the necessary vaccinations before relocating. For those with a needle phobia, the vaccination process can be stressful. Microneedles may offer a solution, and now researchers have developed the technology further to monitor drug levels.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) in Switzerland have created a system which consists of a thin patch which is pressed against a patient's arm and measures drugs in their bloodstream.
The tiny needle-like projection is less than half a millimetre long and doesn't pierce the skin like a standard hypodermic needle, allowing drug levels to be monitored without drawing any blood.
Microneedles are designed to puncture the outer layer of skin, which acts as a protective shield, but not the next layers of epidermis and the dermis, which house nerves, blood vessels and active immune cells.