Covid-19: Researchers working on making edible plants like spinach, lettuce as mRNA vaccines; check details

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September 17, 2021 11:06 AM

If the new project undertaken by the University of California scientists achieve success then the challenges of extremely complex storage requirements would be overcome as plant-based mRNA edible vaccines would be easily stored at room temperature.

Giraldo further said that a single plant would be in a position to produce enough mRNA to vaccinate an individual.Giraldo further said that a single plant would be in a position to produce enough mRNA to vaccinate an individual. (Representative image)

Even as the availability of Coronavirus vaccines has improved in different parts of the world, scientists are attempting to turn a few edible plants into vaccines. Scientists and researchers at the University of California, Riverside are conducting experiments and studies to successfully turn edible plants like lettuce into mRNA vaccine candidates, the Indian Express reported.

While the mRNA vaccine or Messenger RNA vaccines are considered to be a better alternative to the dead virus vaccine alternative, such vaccines require extremely cold and advanced storage facilities for the maintenance of their stability during transport from one place to another. If the new project undertaken by the University of California scientists achieve success then the challenges of extremely complex storage requirements would be overcome as plant-based mRNA edible vaccines would be easily stored at room temperature.

The project which could bring transformative changes in the field of vaccines has been backed up with solid funding of $500,000 by the US National Science Foundation. The project is aiming at getting success on three major fronts. The first aim of the project is to show that the mRNA vaccine can be successfully delivered into the parts of the plant cells where it can replicate. The second goal of the scientists is to show that plants can produce enough mRNA to match the level of a traditional vaccine. The ultimate aim of the researchers would be to determine the right dosage and use of the edible plants mRNA vaccine.

Juan Pablo Giraldo, who is a part of the study, was quoted as saying that the approach is being tested with lettuce and spinach plants. Giraldo further said that a single plant would be in a position to produce enough mRNA to vaccinate an individual.

If the study proves to be a success then a major challenge of transporting and storing the mRNA vaccines into sub-polar temperature would be solved. The development would particularly be more beneficial to the less developed parts of the world which lack highly sensitive, state of the art storage infrastructure.

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