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Tattoo vaccine instead of injections

health-and-fitness Updated: Jan 31, 2013 01:00 IST

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Scared of painful jabs? Get a tattoo instead. Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a stick-on-tattoo for powerful delivery of vaccines.

The tattoo is a patch covered in ‘micro-needles’ and may be a far safer, and less painful, way to deliver a new generation of vaccines.

Researchers claim the system could even be used to deliver DNA vaccines for ‘risky’ diseases such as HIV.

Applying patches loaded with these needles onto the skin instantly embeds the coatings into the body, much like the application of a tattoo.

These micro-needles can be designed to disrupt only the most superficial layers of the skin to avoid nerve endings and blood vessels, making them painless and safer than hypodermic needles.

However, researchers have struggled to find a way to deliver them effectively.