Monday, May 18, 2009

HIV Vaccine From Engineered Plants: Mice Form Antibodies Against HIV Protein

Via ScienceDaily -

A research team at Örebro University in Sweden has succeeded in changing the genes in plants so they can function as a vaccine against HIV. Through gene modification the plants have acquired the capacity to produce a protein that is part of the virus, and the project has taken a giant step forward in that mice that have been fed the plants have reacted and formed antibodies against the protein.

The findings are presented in a new academic dissertation at the university.

To produce drugs with the help of plants is a rapidly growing research field that offers new potential to combat diseases. At Örebro University researchers have the goal of developing inexpensive and safe protection against HIV, in the form of plants that contain a vaccine against the virus and can be cultivated all over the world. If they succeed, it will be difficult to exaggerate the significance of this for millions of people around the world, not least in the poorest countries.

“A major problem with the HIV virus is that it mutates rapidly and therefore exists in several different variants. In other words, it’s not possible to create an effective vaccine that is based on the entire virus. Moreover, this would be far too risky. Instead, we have selected a protein, p24, that exists in all HIV viruses and looks roughly the same in the various virus lines,” says Ingrid Lindh, author of the dissertation.


Today, May 18th, is World AIDS Vaccine Day...

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