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posted by requerdanos on Tuesday August 24, @08:14AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the eat-your-medicine dept.

Molecular Farming Means the Next Vaccine Could Be Edible and Grown in a Plant:

It’s the dog days of summer. You bite down on a plump, chilled orange. Citrus juice explodes in your mouth in a refreshing, tingling burst. Ahh.

And congratulations—you’ve just been vaccinated for the latest virus.

That’s one of the goals of molecular farming, a vision to have plants synthesize medications and vaccines. Using genetic engineering and synthetic biology, scientists can introduce brand new biochemical pathways into plant cells—or even whole plants—essentially turning them into single-use bioreactors.

The whole idea has a retro-futuristic science fiction vibe. First conceived of in 1986, molecular farming got its boost three decades later, when the FDA approved the first—and only—plant-derived therapeutic protein for humans to treat Gaucher disease, a genetic disorder that prevents people from breaking down fats.

But to Drs. Hugues Fausther-Bovendo and Gary Kobinger at Université Laval, Quebec and Galveston National Laboratory, Texas, respectively, we’re just getting started. In a new perspective article published last week in Science, the duo argues that plants have long been an overlooked resource for biomanufacturing.

[...] “Molecular farming could have a considerable impact on both human and animal health,” the authors said.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @08:20AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @08:20AM (#1170215)

    Nobody here, then? All got the COVID-19? Ok, then.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by edIII on Tuesday August 24, @07:33PM

      by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 24, @07:33PM (#1170477)

      My first thought exactly. Create a social media post linking to this article and tell all the anti-vaxxers they're going to take the vaccine one way or the other. Unless they want to starve. 48 hours later Tucker Carlson would be whining that they're coming for our food because "we won't comply".

      --
      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday August 24, @09:04AM (5 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 24, @09:04AM (#1170223) Journal

    Citrus juice explodes in your mouth in a refreshing, tingling burst. Ahh.

    And congratulations—you’ve just been vaccinated for the latest virus.

    And in 3 weeks you may be a mess of blood clots just because a bee carrying the wrong pollen landed on the flower which resulted on the fruit you just eat.

    I still don't get it. If you can make a vaccine which can be administered orally, why do you need citrus trees when you can use bacteria or yeasts to produce it in a form factor much smaller than an orange? You can control the environ for bacteria a lot better than an orchard.

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by FatPhil on Tuesday August 24, @12:08PM

      Absolutely. I actively want my vaccine to be made under laboratory conditions, not on a farm. Sure, I'd prefer ingestible, but sugar cubes have solved that problem in the past.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
    • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Tuesday August 24, @05:12PM

      by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Tuesday August 24, @05:12PM (#1170398)

      Covered in the article. Plants have built-in defenses against unwanted material. Labs have to be hyper-vigilant.

      The problem that jumps to mind is dosage control. Use the plants to make pill raw materials, fine. Bite into an orange and get vaccinated? Eat the whole thing and get an overdose? The very first thing done after animal trials in Phase I is identifying the safe dosage of something.

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Tuesday August 24, @08:18PM (2 children)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday August 24, @08:18PM (#1170495)

      Because when you're tasting fresh, sweet, tangy orange juice while biting down and trying to make sure you don't get it all over your shirt, it's a lot easier for people to distract you and stick you in the arm with the vaccine.

      Or was that not the idea? I kind of skimmed the summary :-)

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday August 24, @10:25PM (1 child)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 24, @10:25PM (#1170537) Journal

        If you can get an oral formulation for a vaccine from whatever sources, you can dissolve it in a natural orange juice bottle. Or in an icecream.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, @11:34AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, @11:34AM (#1171150)

          Or in Prune Juice.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @09:04AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @09:04AM (#1170224)

    Is the orange filled with vodka or gin? Asking for a friend.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @09:28AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @09:28AM (#1170229)

      Reminds me of tomacco.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @09:40AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @09:40AM (#1170233)

        At least Bart is eating his vegetables, Marge.

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday August 24, @11:57AM (1 child)

        I was wondering whether Dilbert's "tomeato" predated that, but no, The Simpsons did it first.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 3, Funny) by HiThere on Tuesday August 24, @01:26PM

          by HiThere (866) on Tuesday August 24, @01:26PM (#1170308) Journal

          The "Beefsteak tomato" did it before either of them.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday August 24, @01:28PM (1 child)

    by HiThere (866) on Tuesday August 24, @01:28PM (#1170309) Journal

    Grown in a plant is possible. Edible is possible. Effective when eaten....that's a lot less plausible. The digestive system is a chemical processing system that likes to break large molecules up into small pieces.

    --
    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @03:24PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @03:24PM (#1170349)

    Can someone just shoot these criminals now before they contaminate our food chain.
    Just a bad idea all around.
    Grey goo.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday August 24, @04:13PM (1 child)

      by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 24, @04:13PM (#1170367) Journal

      Some people. They'll drink the Kool-Aid, but they won't eat the orange.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @07:46PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @07:46PM (#1170484)

        The Anti-Broccoli crowd will go ballistic.

  • (Score: 2, Troll) by NickM on Tuesday August 24, @11:35PM (1 child)

    by NickM (2867) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 24, @11:35PM (#1170563) Journal

    My mom participated in the medicago trial. It's a really nice technology, they use tobacco plants to generate Virus like particles https://medicago.com/en/covid-19-programs/#vaccine [medicago.com] but she had to get 2 additional shot of Moderna because the Canadian preferred to invest in a vaporware vaccine in China (CanSino) instead of investing at home. Therefore the medicago vaccine is still unapproved ;(

    Next election I will vote for the Bloc Québécois even if I am not a separatist... Trudeau gouvernment is both dumb and woke. If I wanted true wokenesss I would vote for Sings' NPD and if I wanted true dumbness I would Conservative !

    --
    I a master of typographic, grammatical and miscellaneous errors !
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