Instead of getting a jab in the arm, scientists say delivering flu vaccines straight into the lungs could be far more effective.

The Australian study showed that lower doses of the flu vaccine delivered into the lungs of sheep gave better protection against influenza than a higher standard dose that was injected into another group of sheep, the Daily Mail reported.

“Our results suggest that delivery by the lung may allow a much lower dose to be used in the influenza vaccine, while inducing equivalent or perhaps even improved protection,” associate professor Philip Sutton from the University of Melbourne, told the newspaper. “This would mean more people would quickly be able to receive the vaccine.”

For the study, Sutton and his team administered three different doses of flu vaccines into the lungs of three groups of sheep using an instrument called a bronchoscope. A fourth group of sheep was injected with the standard vaccines, according to the report.

“Lung delivery produced superior levels of antibodies in the lung (approximately 1,000 times more), where the influenza virus infects, than the injected vaccine,” Sutton told the Mail.

The study is published in Mucosal Immunology.

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