Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by requerdanos on Tuesday August 24 2021, @08:14AM   Printer-friendly
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.


Original Submission

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday August 24 2021, @09:04AM (5 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Tuesday August 24 2021, @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
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +2  
       Interesting=2, Total=2
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   4  
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by FatPhil on Tuesday August 24 2021, @12:08PM

    by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Tuesday August 24 2021, @12:08PM (#1170283) Homepage
    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.
    --
    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
  • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Tuesday August 24 2021, @05:12PM

    by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Tuesday August 24 2021, @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 2021, @08:18PM (2 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday August 24 2021, @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 2021, @10:25PM (1 child)

      by c0lo (156) on Tuesday August 24 2021, @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 2021, @11:34AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26 2021, @11:34AM (#1171150)

        Or in Prune Juice.