Tattooing May Provide Bigger Immune Response Than Injections

Posted on March 7, 2008

The BBC reports that German researchers have found that tattooing may be a better delivery mechanism for vaccines than injections. Studies with mice found that mice had a bigger immune response with tattoos than with needle-based injections.

Now researchers in Germany say that the rapidly vibrating tattoo needle could be a useful way of delivering vaccines under the skin instead of insoluble ink.

In studies with mice, tattooing a vaccine produced 16 times more antibodies than a simple injection into muscle tissue.

The level of antibodies indicates the strength of the immune system's response.

Dr Martin Mueller, one of the researchers behind this work, says that the greater damage to the body caused by the tattoo needle may explain the better immune response.

The researchers also said the method would have many limitations. One of them is that it would be impossible to give children a measles tattoo because it would be too painful. It also sounds like a very timely procedure - a simple injection is much faster.

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