Researchers in the Netherlands are developing laser technology to enable ‘needle-free’ injections that will reduce fear and lower the threshold for vaccinations.
The “Bubble Gun” will use a laser to push tiny droplets through the outer layer of the skin, said David Fernandez Rivas, a professor at Twente University and research affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Quicker than a mosquito bite, the process “should not cause pain” because nerve endings in the skin remain untouched.
“Within a millisecond, the glass that contains the liquid is heated by a laser, a bubble is created in the liquid, pushing the liquid out at a velocity of at least 100 km per hour (60 mph),” he told Reuters.
“That allows us to penetrate the skin without damage. We don’t see any wound or entry point,” he added.
Rivas expects the invention will help more people get vaccinated, prevent the risk of contamination and reduce medical waste. He said it could take a few years for the method to be available to the general public, since more research is required and regulatory issues remain.
An irrational, debilitating fear of needles and syringes is known as trypanophobia, derived from the Greek word ‘trypano’ which means puncturing or piercing. A meta-analysis on the fear of needles conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan found that the condition affects between 20 to 50 percent of adolescents, and between 20 to 30 percent of young adults. The fear was more common in females than males.
Needle fear has been a concern during Covid-19 vaccination campaigns as many people avoid receiving vaccines due to an aversion of needles or blood.
A Harvard health blog, Terrified of needles? That can affect your health, mentions that the phobia can affect health and longevity as if it often makes those suffering from it forgo life-saving medical care. While relaxation techniques, deep breathing or cognitive behaviour therapy can greatly help reduce fear, laser injections might be the ultimate panacea and finally help us get rid of painful needle sticks once and for all.
From : pk.mashable.com