Flu vaccine in a patch, Georgia style

A team from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have developed a microneedle patch for delivering the flu vaccine.

The size of a band-aid, it’s applied to the skin painlessly, and the tiny needles dissolve when they’re done — just a few minutes. And it can be self-applied (assuming at least a moderate level of intelligence, of course).

If developed, the patch could allow vaccines to be distributed and administered more easily.

Bad news for Merck…

Merck was one of the companies around the world to be hit by the latest ransomware attack that began in Ukraine and spread around the world.

The attack is using software developed by the National Security Agency (“Eternal Blue”), and is similar to the “WannaCry” attack last month.

Are you safe? As long as you let your operating system update itself regularly, yes. Microsoft fixed the vulnerability in March… but apparently not everyone keeps their computers up to date.

…but good news, too

It tested its anacetrapib cholesterol-lowering drug and found that — unlike other companies’ products — it showed significant reduction in heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular, er, events. This is a Very Big Deal, and you’ll certainly be hearing more about it… assuming the company can use its computers anytime soon.

Drugs: hard and soft

What’s a “hard” drug? What’s a “soft” one? Depends who you ask. So researchers looked at 132 scientific papers to get a consensus. They sort of got one, but there are some odd outliers.

Spoiler: Alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine are “soft”; everything else — from morphine to mescaline to opioids to meth — is “hard.”

Risks include…

Consumers have stopped paying attention to warnings in TV commercials for drugs. Solution: Relax the requirements on drug companies to share those warnings.

Obligatory note: Only the U.S. and New Zealand still allow direct-to-consumer drug ads.