Rice! It means so much to so many, and now, a genetically modified rice has been engineered to express the cholera vaccine protein. The MIT Technology Review has more:
Since the rice-based vaccine comes from an edible plant, it’s safe and inexpensive to produce in large quantities and can be orally administered. It serves as an advance to most traditional plant-based oral vaccines because the rice can be stored at room temperature for at least a year and a half, and, once administered, its protein body protects the vaccine from digestive enzymes that would otherwise render it ineffective. Rice also has greater protein content than some of the starch-based edible vaccines currently under experimentation for a variety of infectious diseases.
Sounds promising. We had visions of eating a delicious and lifesaving meal, until we got to this part:
The researchers plan to prepare the rice-based vaccine in the form of a capsule or tablet for applications in humans, hence they don’t have plans to deliver the vaccine as a form of steamed rice.
Alas, the steam probably wouldn’t be good for the vaccine anyway.
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