Saturday, February 2, 2013

Inexpensive Rabies Vaccine Produced from Tobacco Plant

Tobacco has a bad name as regards its potential for addiction and cause of several cancers. Sometime back, it was in news that tobacco plant can be used to produce insulin.

English: Mature Ecuador Sumatra Tobacco Plant
English: Mature Ecuador Sumatra Tobacco Plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now, scientists are able to produce monoclonal antibody against rabies in genetically altered tobacco plant.
This antibody works by preventing the virus from attaching to nerve endings around the bite site and keeps the virus away from traveling up in the central nervous system.
Rabies is the consequence of the getting bitten by rabid animals; most commonly from dog and monkey. There is so to say no treatment at present for rabies; but, it is preventable by vaccination.
At present vaccines are based on chick embryo cell, some other cell culture like vera cell and human cell culture. Human cell culture is the costliest of all.
Producing an inexpensive antibody in transgenic plants may open up the prospect of adequate rabies prevention.
This antibody was produced using transgenic tobacco plants as an inexpensive production platform. The antibody was purified from the plant leaves and characterized with regards to its protein and sugar composition.
The antibody was also shown to be active in neutralizing a broad panel of rabies viruses, and the exact antibody docking site on the viral envelope was identified using certain chimeric rabies viruses.
Being able to grow safe, humanized antibodies in genetically modified tobacco should reduce costs to make treatments more accessible, and save more lives.
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