Bananas have emerged as the best candidate to deliver a bite-sized vaccine for hepatitis B virus (HBV) to millions of people in developing countries, according to an article scheduled for the June 1 issue of ACS' Biotechnology Progress, a bi-monthly journal co-published with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
In the article, India's V. A. Bapat and colleagues update and review worldwide research on efforts to genetically engineer plants as biofactories for the production of vaccines. They focus on transferring genes to produce HBV vaccine, noting that there already are 350 million carriers of hepatitis B worldwide, with 1 million new cases annually. An estimated 75 million -100 million of those infected individuals may die from liver cirrhosis or liver cancer as a result, the article adds.
The authors explain that plant-based production of an oral hepatitis B vaccine has economic and other advantages over the existing injectable vaccine. Researchers so far have successfully engineered several plants -- including banana, potato, lettuce, carrot, and tobacco -- to produce HBV vaccines. They explain why banana appears to be the ideal production and delivery vehicle for HBV vaccine, and the further research and development needed to exploit bananas in the global battle against HBV.
Article: "Production of Hepatitis B Surface Antigen in Recombinant Plant Systems: An Update", Biotechnology Progress
Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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