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.