Edible Vaccines

Scientists believe that vaccines can now be transported in foods, such as a banana. This would allow children to be vaccinated without the need for a shot. The new development would be especially useful in areas lacking in proper medical supplies (Langridge).

These engineered fruits will be modified to produce a vaccine as they grow. Bananas are thought to be one of the best choices for vaccine distribution. This is because bananas grow in a wide variety of developing countries and are liked by most children.

The Boyce Thompson Institute of Plant research at Cornell University currently has banana and tomato plants genetically engineered to produce small doses of vaccines. These foods would introduce a harmless strain of a dangerous pathogen into the body, causing an immune system reaction to fight off the pathogen. These foods would have the same effect has vaccines used today, but would be more easily transported. Currently, foods can be genetically engineered to contain vaccines, but only in small doses. Researchers (most notably those at Harvard and Cornell) are working hard to create full doses of vaccines in easily grown foods (Langridge).