Published: Jul 19, 2010 10:52 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 19, 2010 7:52 AM EDT

   WASHINGTON (AP) - Researchers developing a new method of vaccine
delivery are hoping that one day, people will get their annual flu
shots in the mail.
      Researchers say the new method of vaccine delivery involves a
patch with microneedles. They're so small they can't even be felt.
      Attached to a patch like a Band-Aid, the little needles barely
penetrate the skin before they dissolve and release their vaccine.
      Researchers led by Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Institute of
Technology reported their research on microneedles in Sunday's
edition of Nature Medicine.
      He says the business side of the patch feels like fine sandpaper
and that in tests of microneedles without vaccine, people rated the
discomfort at one-tenth to one-twentieth that of getting a standard
injection. Nearly everyone said it was painless.