Tomato: The Vaccine Plant, Against Bird Flu

by Medindia Content Team on  March 18, 2006 at 2:03 PM Research News
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Tomato: The Vaccine Plant, Against Bird Flu
Monash University researcher Dr Amanda Walmsley who worked in developing a vaccine against the Newcastle disease is now working to produce vaccine against bird flu in tomatoes.

The tomato bird flu vaccine will be developed for chickens rather than humans. These tomatoes which are the storehouse of vaccines would be fed to birds rather than injected.

It is a very simple procedure the fruits are harvested, freeze-dried and then the vaccine is obtained. This would definitely be an easy method of vaccinating a flock of 5000 chickens.

The gene responsible to protect the bird flu virus will be isolated and the tomato plant would be allowed to read it and incorporated in to the plant. There the gene would produce proteins and the plant would become a factory for the vaccine.

As of now the bird flu vaccines which are now grown in eggs or yeast have a lot of disadvantages such as vaccines developed in eggs or yeast can have contamination problems, and some people with egg allergies cannot take vaccines that have been developed in them.

Dr Walmsley was part of a team that developed the world's first plant-made vaccine to be approved by the US Department of Agriculture's Centre for Veterinary Biologics. Dr Walmsley hoped that plant-made vaccines would one day be available for humans.


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