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A Skin Patch To Deliver The COVID-19 Vaccine

A healthcare worker at UCI Health Center is vaccinated against COVID-19. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Local researchers are working to turn the COVID-19 vaccine into an easy-to-deliver skin patch.

Similar to nicotine patches used to quit smoking, such liquid-coated swaths are already used for vaccine administration to guard against other illnesses.

Dr. Lbachir BenMohamed, who is leading the research at UC Irvine's School of Medicine, said that switching the coronavirus vaccine from an injection to a patch will make distribution easier.

“Delivering the vaccine is six times more expensive than the vaccine itself,” he said. “If we come up with something that you can just put in an envelope and ship it to a remote area, I think that is going to be a game changer.”

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A vaccine patch would also eliminate the need for the constant cold storage currently required for some of the approved vaccines.

BenMohamed’s lab started testing the vaccine patch with mice late last week. If the trials are successful, the patch will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration.