Plant used to develop smallpox vaccine

In a new study, U.S. researchers say that they have developed a plant that makes a protein that can be used to manufacture a safe and effective smallpox vaccine. And Dr. Hilary Koprowski, head of the Centre for Neurovirology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and developer of the live polio vaccine, says that in 10 years time all smallpox vaccine will be made in plants. Smallpox has been eliminated as a routine health threat, but governments around the globe have been concerned that it could be used in a bioterror attack. The currently available vaccine can easily kill people with a weakened immune system, the scientists say. Koprowski's team created the vaccine in tobacco and collard greens and then tested it on mice. Some scientists note, though, that the new vaccine shouldn't be tested in humans, saying it would be unethical to expose healthy people to the disease.

- check out the report on vaccine production from Health 24

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