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Edible Vaccines

By: Leslie Gutierrez, Melissa Romero, & Makayla Jones-McCune


Edible vaccines are being created to serve as a different, cost-effective,

method to administer vaccines that an individual would normally have
to receive through a shot. It differs from a normal vaccination because
it is administered orally, mainly by transformed plant consumption
while regular vaccines are administered with a needle.
The Science Behind It:

Edible vaccines are prepared by molecular farming & genetic engineering. Antigenic
proteins that are free of pathogenic genes from pathogenic organisms like bacteria or
viruses are used and introduced into a plant through transfection.

Agrobacterium, a type of bacteria that usually causes tumors in plants, is transformed

so that it does not create a tumor when inserted into the plant, has antibiotic
resistance, and contains the selected antigens.

To create an edible vaccine, a piece of a leaf must be cut and exposed to the
transformed agrobacterium, then introduced to an antibiotic to kill the cells that are
not transformed while the survivors multiple and form clumps. Later, the clumps
begin to sprout and then it is planted into soil and allowed to grow.

Vaccines are used to cause an immune response without causing disease. Edible
Vaccines are being created for diseases like measles,cholera, hepatitis B and
more. They also help with autoimmune disorders such as Type-I diabetes,
diarrhoea, sclerosis, and arthritis. Edible vaccines are also useful because
instead of receiving a shot, an individual will simply consume a plant/vegetable
containing the vaccine.

The idea for oral vaccines was drafted by Charles J. Arntzen who witnessed
a mother in Bangkok soothe her baby with a piece of a banana. After this,
many plant biologists began to look into edible vaccines to bring Arntzen
vision into a reality. Colleges like Arizona State and Loma Linda have
conducted many tests and experiments including vegetables like tomatoes
and potatoes and antigens from the Norwalk Virus, cholerae, and HIV.
Edible vaccines are just being used in labs because there are still some
issues that need to be addressed, but with the successes made already, the
idea is definitely feasible. It will improve human lives because it is cost
effective, easy to administer, helpful to poor countries, and easy to store. An
added benefit is that it is much easier than receiving a shot.
Pros Cons
Disease can be prevented such as Research is still being done to determine if one vaccine can
protect against multiple vaccines.
● Rabies Selection of best plant is difficult, certains foods like a
● Hepatitis b potato are not eaten raw and so cooking it might weaken
● E coli infections and more the medicine present in it.

It eliminates the risk of infection from contaminated A banana tree takes at least 2 years to mature but spoils
needles and you wouldn’t have to get shots which can be quickly after ripening.
painful to some
The antigens may not be able to survive the hostile, acidic
Reduction in production cost so we would be saving money conditions of a stomach. It’s not clear what will happen
when the person comes to contact with the virus.
Heat stability, removes the need for refrigeration

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