Science » Technologies and discoveries

Tomato vaccine

Scientists  from  the  Institute  of Biochemistry of Plants (Irkutsk), Institute  of Chemical Biology and Scientific Centre of Virusology and Biotechnology ("Vector") (Novosibirsk) devised eatable transgenic tomatoes that can serve as vaccines against Hepatitis and AIDS.

This vaccines  have  already  been  tested  on  animals  and  yielded positive results. According to Sergei  Schelkunov, head of  the  department  of molecular biology  of  genomes  from  the  Scientific  Centre  of Virusology and Biotechnology, after being fed a portion of transgenic tomatoes three times a day, lab mice began showing positive signs of improvement of immune response towards  hepatitis  B and a less pronounced but also effective  towards HIV.

Schelkunov also mentioned that such vaccines have been tested for decades but yielded no positive results. This is the first time, the vaccine has proved to be effective. The  institutes  are  planning  to produce transgenic carrots and salad that will contain vaccines against hepatitis A and encephalitis.
 
According to Valentin Vlasov, the Director of the Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental  Medicine  of  RAS, this will be a very promising project. "First of all, - says Vlasov, -such vaccines are very economical in production, since there  isn't  a  cheaper  way  to  produce  biologically active substances  then to produce them in plants. And second of all, it is absolutely safe.”

Scientist say that they will need a few years of  clinical  tests  and  some hundreds of thousands of dollars before vegetable vaccines will be put into production.