Sunday, January 29, 2012

Plantibodies in the fight against HIV?

Dr. Deborah Anderson, professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and microbiology at Boston University, is currently developing a form of prophylaxis against HIV and HSV that uses plant-grown human antibodies to neutralize these viruses in the female genital tract. Anderson has been working closely with the industry to develop a system of producing antibodies to HIV cheaply and massively in tobacco plants. The so-called "plantibodies" are then hoped to be applied to numerous other viruses, perhaps even influenza and rhinovirus.

Trials for another anti-HIV gel were cancelled in November because they appeared to be ineffective at preventing infection. Here's hoping that this one shows happier results.


-Alan Le


Annelise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annelise said...

I like it...plantibodies! Still sounds like vaccination would be easier (how long does a ring of antibodies last?). Also, I wonder if you would have an immune reaction against the foreign antibodies (sometimes happens for long-term exposure).

Also, I wonder that they're using plants and not, say, E. coli in vats...maybe bacteria aren't capable of mass-producing such big proteins? Getting DNA into plants is pretty cool (you literally shoot the DNA into it).