Enter A Formula In The Selected Cell To Display Precentage Edible Vaccines – Friends Or Foes?

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Edible Vaccines – Friends Or Foes?

As Archimedes could attest, inspiration can strike anywhere. Legend has it that an ancient Greek thinker discovered the mathematical laws governing buoyancy in a bathroom while lazily watching soap float. And then running, wet and naked, through the streets of Syracuse, shouting, “Eureka!” (“I’ve found it!”). The nature of scientific inquiry may have changed since the third century BCE, but the spirit of observational inquiry that led to Archimedes’ theory is still active.

Vaccinating people with edible plants is a new idea that seems to hold great promise. Current research focuses on mixing viral or bacterial DNA into a formula, which is then incorporated into soil bacteria. When a plant ingests the bacteria, the therapeutic DNA attaches itself to the plant’s genetic makeup, and as the plant grows, its cells begin to produce proteins designed to make new genes. When the plant or fruit is eaten, the immune system is triggered, prompting the body to produce the appropriate antibodies.

The development of vaccines has saved millions of lives worldwide. Vaccines have accomplished almost miracles in the fight against infectious disease. They have already consigned smallpox to history and will soon do the same for polio. By the late 1990s, an international campaign to vaccinate all the world’s children against six devastating diseases had reached 80 percent of infants (up from about 5 percent in the mid-1970s) and was reducing annual deaths from those infections by nearly three million. . Yet these triumphs mask tragic gaps in delivery. 20 percent of infants still miss out on six vaccines — diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, tetanus and tuberculosis — accounting for nearly two million unnecessary deaths each year, especially in remote and poor parts of the world. Upheaval in many developing nations threatens to torpedo the progress of the recent past.

Vaccines are one of the greatest success stories of modern medicine. The early experiments of Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur taught physicians that they could prevent disease only by exposing the patient to a weakened or inactive pathogen. While his protocols violated today’s clinical trial regulations, Dr. Jenner was able to protect children from smallpox—even when he intentionally exposed them to it—by first inoculating them with pus from cowpox. Although materially different from the vaccines developed by Jenner and Pasteur, modern vaccines are still built on the same basic principle: if the immune system is trained to recognize pathogens before infection, disease can be prevented when the actual pathogen is encountered.

The problem with current vaccine protocols is that what works in the developed world is too difficult to deliver in the developing world, or too expensive to procure.

Unfortunately, this often means that those who need the vaccine cannot get it.

Disease prevention through foodborne vaccines is, therefore, great news for people around the world. An oral vaccine incorporated in the plant bypasses the need for sterile syringes, expensive refrigeration, or multiple injections. Furthermore, many of the deadly diseases of the developing world—cholera, rotavirus, and E. coli infection, to name a few—enters the body through the gastrointestinal tract, so the vaccine may actually provide the best protection because it mimics it. Natural route of infection.

Edible vaccines hold great potential, especially in third world countries where transportation is expensive; Poor refrigeration and needle use complicate vaccine administration. Also being researched with laboratory animals, diabetics may one day benefit from an edible form of insulin. Researchers have developed techniques that allow the introduction of hybrid genes that produce human insulin into potatoes.

For diabetics, insulin-carrying potatoes can help prevent the body’s immune system from reacting to insulin as if it were a foreign material. Some scientists see great promise in plants, which are unaffected by human diseases and can produce antibodies at a cost 100 times lower than traditional cell fermentation. Many companies are growing crops engineered to produce human antibodies against diseases such as malaria. Food vaccines for other enteric pathogens are already in the pipeline – for example, potatoes and bananas that can protect against Norwalk virus, a common cause of diarrhea, and potatoes and tomatoes that can protect against hepatitis B.

Edible vaccines activate both mucosal and systemic immunity, as they come into contact with the lining of the digestive tract, which is not possible with subunit vaccines that elicit a weak mucosal response. This dual effect of food vaccines provides first-line protection against pathogens that invade through the mucosa: such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and agents that cause diarrhea, pneumonia, STDs, HIV, etc.

Other benefits of food vaccines include:

A. Trans-placental transfer of maternal antibodies or administration of edible vaccines to mothers to immunize the infant in utero via breast milk. Edible vaccines play a potential role in protecting infants against diseases such as group-B streptococcus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), etc., which are under investigation.

b. Edible vaccines against neglected/rare diseases like dengue, hookworm, rabies, etc. would also be suitable. They can be integrated with other vaccine approaches and deliver multiple antigens.

Banana, potato, tomato, lettuce, rice, etc. are the different foods under study. Edible vaccines are currently being developed for several human and animal diseases, including measles, cholera, foot-and-mouth disease, and hepatitis B, C, and E.

C. Their production is highly efficient and easily scalable. For example, the hepatitis-B antigen required to vaccinate the whole of China annually can be raised on 40 acres of land and all the children in the world can be raised on 200 acres of land each year!

D. They are inexpensive, bypass the demands for standard purification methods and do not require large capital investment of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.

E. They exhibit good genetic stability.

F. They are heat-stable and do not require cold-chain maintenance.

G. They can be stored near the place of use, avoiding long-distance transportation.

H. Avoiding the use of syringes and needles also reduces the chance of infection.

I. Fear of contamination from animal viruses — such as mad cow disease, which is a threat to vaccines made from cultured mammalian cells — is eliminated, because plant viruses do not infect humans.

If the vaccine can be expressed in a plant, the plant can be eaten for the vaccine, and a person does not have to go to the doctor to get the shot. This could benefit third world countries that lack the infrastructure and resources to provide access to doctors. The first test of an edible vaccine was performed by expressing the hepatitis B surface protein in potatoes which were then fed to mice. The mice developed antibodies to the hepatitis surface protein, and developed mucosal immunity to infection with the virus. It is important to note that antibodies are secreted by mucosal membranes (the lining of the nose, mouth, digestive tract) which is the site that the virus is most likely to invade the body.

Considerations in the development of plant-based vaccines

Antigen selection

– Is the antigen safe and non-pathogenic under all circumstances?

– Can the antigen induce a protective immune response?

– Is the antigen suitable for expression in plants?

Effectiveness in model systems

– Do plants accumulate enough antigen?

– Are plant-derived antigens immunogenic?

– Do test animals develop protective immune responses?

Selection of plant species for vaccine delivery

– Can it be eaten raw and unprocessed?

– Is it suitable for children?

– Can it be widely and easily grown?

– Can it be easily stored? Is it resistant to spoilage?

– Is it suitable for transformation and regeneration?

Distribution and dosage issues

– Are mucosal adjuvants necessary for a protective response?

– Can a large enough dose be given by eating plants?

– How many doses will be required?

Security issues

– Does the vaccine produce oral tolerance?

– What are the health and environmental risks of genetically modified organisms

Public perceptions and attitudes towards genetic modification

– Do negative attitudes towards genetically modified organisms affect vaccine acceptability?

Quality Control and Licensing

– Can antigen expression be consistent across crop yields?

– Who will control vaccine availability and

The Future of Food Vaccines:

The future of food vaccines may be affected by resistance to GM foods, as reflected in Zambia’s rejection of GM maize in food aid from the United States despite the threat of famine. Before approving such vaccines for human use, WHO’s concerns about quality assurance, efficacy and environmental impact need to be addressed. The random insertion of genes can destabilize the genomes of its plant and animal hosts and the effects can ricochet through neighboring ecosystems. By facilitating horizontal gene transfer/recombination, genetic engineering can contribute to the emergence and re-emergence of infectious, drug-resistant diseases, the rise of autoimmune diseases, cancer and the reactivation of dormant viruses. Bacteria can take up transgenic DNA in food in the human gut. Antibiotic resistance marker genes can spread from transgenic food to pathogenic bacteria, making infections more difficult to treat. Small genetic changes in pathogens can lead to dramatic changes in host spectrum and disease-causing abilities, and unwitting plants can become their unwitting reservoir. There is also the risk of creating entirely new strains of infectious agents such as super viruses. By altering DNA, geneticists can create millions of recombinant viruses in minutes in the lab that have never existed over billions of years of evolution. It can be misused for the deliberate manufacture of biological weapons.

Ecological and environmental risks of food vaccines need to be considered. It’s still very raw science and has a long way to go before it’s ready for large-scale testing for fighting infectious diseases and autoimmunity in humans. Addressing concerns about the use of GM food, it cannot be overemphasized, with strict controls on the growth and processing of plant vaccines to ensure they never enter the food supply. This would include greenhouse separation of pharmaceuticals from food crops, and separate storage and processing facilities.

Dr. Rubina Lone

Consultant Clinical Microbiology and Research

SKIMS Medical College, Srinagar


Feedback: to dr.rubina.lone@gmail.com

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