Can You Give Cough Medicine To A 4 Month Old Edible Vaccines – Friends Or Foes?

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Edible Vaccines – Friends Or Foes?

As Archimedes could attest, inspiration can strike anywhere. Legend has it that the ancient Greek thinker discovered the mathematical laws governing buoyancy in the toilet while watching soap float idly by. Then ran, wet and naked, through the streets of Syracuse shouting, “Eureka!” (“I found it!”). The nature of scientific research may have changed since the third century BC, but the spirit of observational inquiry that led to Archimedes’ principle is still active.

Human vaccination with edible plants is a new idea that seems to hold great promise. Current research focuses on mixing viral or bacterial DNA in a formula, which is then introduced into soil bacteria. When a plant takes in the bacteria, the therapeutic DNA becomes stitched into the plant’s genetic makeup and as the plant grows, its cells begin to produce whatever proteins the new genes are designed to make. When the plant or fruit is eaten, vaccination begins, which prompts the body to produce the appropriate antibodies.

The development of vaccines has saved millions of lives around the world. Vaccines have accomplished near miracles in the fight against infectious diseases. Smallpox was consigned to history and they should soon do the same for polio. By the late 1990s, an international campaign to immunize all the world’s children against six devastating diseases had reached 80 percent of infants (up from about 5 percent in the mid-1970s) and was reducing the number of deaths each year. of these infections by about three million. . But these victories mask gaps in delivery. The 20 percent of babies who still miss out on the six vaccines – against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, tetanus and tuberculosis – account for about two million unnecessary deaths each year, especially in the most remote and impoverished parts of the world. Chaos in many developing nations now threatens to torpedo past progress.

Vaccination is one of the greatest successes of modern medicine. Early experiments by Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur taught doctors that they could prevent disease just by exposing a patient to a weakened or inactivated pathogen. While his protocol violates today’s clinical trial regulations, Dr. Jenner was able to prevent children from getting chickenpox — even when he deliberately exposed them to it — after first inoculating them with vacuum-sealed pus. Although materially different from what Jenner and Pasteur developed, modern vaccines are still based on the same basic principle: If the immune system is trained to recognize a pathogen before infection, the disease can be prevented when the actual pathogen is encountered.

The problem with current vaccination protocols is that what works in the developed world is often more difficult to deliver in the developing world, or simply too expensive to purchase.

Unfortunately, this often means that those who need a vaccine the most cannot get it.

Disease prevention through an edible vaccine, therefore, is good news for people around the world. An oral vaccine incorporated into a plant avoids the need for sterile syringes, costly refrigeration, or multiple injections. In addition, since many of the deadliest diseases in the developed world – cholera, rotavirus, and E. coli infections, to name a few – enter the body through the gastrointestinal tract, an ingested vaccine may actually provide better protection because it imitate the natural route of infection.

Edible vaccines have great potential, especially in Third World countries where transportation is expensive; poor refrigeration and the use of needles complicate vaccine administration. While research is also being done with laboratory animals, diabetics may one day benefit from an edible form of insulin. Researchers have developed technology that allows the introduction of a hybrid gene that produces human insulin in potatoes.

For diabetics, potatoes that provide insulin can help train the body’s defenses to stop reacting to insulin as if it were a foreign material. Some scientists see greater promise in plants, which are unaffected by human disease and can produce antibodies at costs up to 100 times less than traditional cell fermentation. Several companies are growing crops that have been engineered to produce human antibodies for diseases such as malaria. Edible vaccines for other intestinal pathogens are already in line–for example, potatoes and bananas that could protect against Norwalk virus, a common cause of diarrhea, and potatoes and tomatoes that could protect against hepatitis B.

Edible vaccines activate both mucosal and systemic immunity, because they come into contact with the lining of the digestive tract, which is not possible with subunit vaccines that give poor mucosal responses. The dual effect of these edible vaccines provides first-line defense against pathogens that invade the mucosa: such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and agents that cause diarrhea, pneumonia, STDs, HIV, etc.

Other benefits of edible vaccines include:

A. Administration of edible vaccines to mothers to immunize the fetus-in-utero by transplacental transfer of maternal or infant antibodies through breast milk. Edible vaccines have a potential role in protecting infants against diseases such as group B streptococcus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), etc., which are under investigation.

B. Edible vaccines would also be suitable against neglected/rare diseases such as dengue, hookworm, rabies, etc. They can be integrated with other vaccine approaches and can also deliver multiple antigens.

Several foods being studied are bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, rice, etc. Edible vaccines are currently being developed for various human and animal diseases, such as measles, cholera, foot and mouth disease and hepatitis B, C and E.

C. Production is highly efficient and can be easily scaled up. For example, the hepatitis-B antigen is required to vaccinate all of China every year, they can grow on a 40-acre plot and all the babies in the world every year on just 200 acres of land!

D. They are cheaper, avoid the need for standard purification methods and do not require much capital investment in pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.

E. They show good genetic stability.

F. They are heat stable and do not require cold chain maintenance.

G. Since they can be stored near the site of use, long-distance transportation can also be avoided.

H. Since syringes and needles are not used, the chances of infection are also less.

I. The fear of contamination with animal viruses – such as mad cow disease, which is a threat to vaccines made from cultured mammalian cells – is eliminated, because plant viruses do not infect humans.

If a vaccine can be expressed in a plant, the plant can be eaten for the vaccination, and one would not need to go to a doctor to get an injection. This could benefit third world countries that lack the infrastructure and resources to provide access to doctors. The first tests of edible vaccines were done by expressing a hepatitis B surface protein in potatoes fed to mice. Mice develop antibodies to the Hepatitis surface protein, and develop mucosal immunity against infection by the virus. It is important to remember that the antibodies are secreted by the mucous membranes (lining of the nose, mouth, digestive track) which is the site that the virus is likely to invade the body.

Considerations in developing a plant-based vaccine

Antigen selection

– Is the antigen safe and non-pathogenic under all circumstances?

– Can the antigen induce a protective immune response?

– Is the antigen suitable for expression in plants?

Effectiveness of model systems

– Is the antigen accumulated in plants in sufficient quantity?

– Is the antigen derived from the plant immunogenic?

– Do test animals develop protective immune responses?

Choice of plant species for vaccine delivery

– Can it be eaten raw and unprocessed?

– Is it suitable for babies?

– Can it be widely and easily grown?

– Can it be easily stored? Is it resistant to spoilage?

– Can it be transformation and regeneration?

Delivery and dosage issues

– Do mucosal adjuvants require a protective response?

– Can they give a large enough dose by simply eating the plant?

– How many doses will be required?

Security issues

– Does the vaccination produce oral tolerance?

– What are the health and environmental risks of genetically modified organisms

Perceptions and public attitudes to genetic modification

– Do negative attitudes about genetically modified organisms influence vaccine acceptability?

Quality control and licensing

– Can antigen expression be consistent in crop production?

– Who will control the availability of vaccines and

The future of edible vaccines:

The future of edible vaccines may be affected by resistance to GM food, which was reflected when Zambia refused GM maize in food aid from the United States despite the threat of famine. Before these vaccines are endorsed for human use, WHO’s concerns in quality assurance, efficacy and environmental impact need to be addressed. Random insertions of genes can destabilize the genomes of plants and their hosts and the effects can ricochet into the neighboring ecosystem. By facilitating horizontal gene transfer/recombination, genetic engineering can contribute to the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases, drug resistance, the rise of autoimmune diseases, cancer and the reactivation of dormant viruses. Bacteria can take transgenic DNA from food into the human gut. Antibiotic resistance marker genes can spread from transgenic food to pathogenic bacteria, making infections very difficult to treat. Minor genetic changes in pathogens can cause dramatic changes in the host spectrum and potential disease-causing potential and plants can inadvertently become their unintended reservoir. There is also the risk of creating entirely new strains of infectious agents, such as super viruses. By mixing DNA, geneticists can create in a matter of minutes in the laboratory, millions of recombinant viruses that have never existed in billions of years of evolution. This can be misused for the intentional creation of bio-weapons.

Ecological and environmental risks of edible vaccines must be considered. It is still a very crude science and has a long way to go before it will be ready for large-scale testing in humans to fight infectious diseases and for autoimmunity. Addressing concerns about the use of GM food, it cannot be excessive, strict control over the growth and process of plant vaccination to ensure that they never enter the food supply. These will include greenhouse segregation of medicinal crops and food crops to prevent crossing, and separate storage and processing facilities.

Dr. Rubina Lone

Consultant in clinical microbiology and research

SKIMS Medical College, Srinagar

India

Feedback to: [email protected]

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