Genetically modified tomatoes that contain edible vaccine could be used against two of the world's most lethal viruses namely HIV and hepatitis B.
Researchers have declared that it would be possible to create cheap vaccines that could be grown and processed in poorer countries where there is a very large need but no funds available to produce the existing vaccines.
It was reported that Rurik Salyaev, of the Siberian Institute of Plant Physiology in Russia, in his research placed DNA from both viruses into tomatoes. Experimental mice were found to have developed high levels of antibodies against the viruses even on body surfaces where viruses can gain entry through sexual contact, when they were fed with a solution containing the powdered tomatoes. The researchers hope that eventually the vaccine could be given orally as tablets, eliminating the need for injections.
Rose Hammond, of the US Department of Agriculture Research Service, which is also collaborating with the research said, 'You wouldn't have to refrigerate the vaccine and wouldn't need to inject it with needles, which pose an infection risk. These would be big advantages in poor countries.'