Monday, October 24, 2011

Growing vaccines to the world's diseases in lettuce?

Henry Daniell, a microbiologist at the University of Central Florida, is working on creating vaccines for a broad range of diseases that he hopes will prove more effective than traditional vaccines.

Vaccines can be problematic in developing regions because they often need to be refrigerated, they expire, and it takes health personnel to administer shots. Daniell is working with lettuce leaf proteins to create oral vaccines that won't go bad or require training to administer. Basically, with a little bioengineering, a lettuce leaf becomes an antibody pill. While this sounds a little far fetched, he has successfully tested vaccines for malaria, TB, polio, cholera, anthrax, black plague, and dengue fever. There's even potential for his vaccines to work on genetic diseases, like diabetes I. Now his lab is working out the final kinks, testing appropriate dosage and longevity of the vaccines. If this new kind of vaccine proves to be as great as it sounds, it will change the future of vaccination.

--Sarah Kaewert,0,3523908.story

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