But before those of you with a phobia get too excited by the prospect, the alternative still involves needles – the needles of tattoo machines, in fact.
“… administering pieces of DNA from the human papillomavirus virus into the skin of mice by three tattoo-gun injections produced a 200-fold greater production of antibodies to the virus than was achieved with the old method of a needle injection into a muscle.
Vaccines made with bits of DNA are not new, but the usual ways of delivering them have not worked very well. The reason that tattoo injections are so much more effective is thought to be because the repeated puncturing of the skin by the rotating tattoo needle does real damage to the skin — the presence of a bona fide wound causes inflammatory cells to flood into the site, where they speed and enhance the immune response to the vaccine.”
We can assume that someone will come up with a less painful way to achieve the same results, too. How about some sort of sticky patch that uses an enzyme to create a skin wound, then delivers the vaccine and starts the healing process, all in one?