DailyDirt: Fighting The Next Pandemic
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The last flu season was pretty rough, but there’s a new H7N9 strain that has no vaccine (yet!) and is starting to infect and kill people (instead of sticking to birds). We’re just about coming to the tenth anniversary of SARS, and we’re still creating over 100 million flu vaccines every year using egg embryos — a process that takes months, time that we might not have if a really serious flu strain spreads quickly across the globe. Here are a few projects that are making vaccines more quickly.
- Tobacco plants can be made transgenic in order to grow vaccines for us, and they’ve been shown to be able to produce over a million doses of vaccine in a few weeks. DARPA has a challenge out to anyone who can produce vaccines at a rate of 10 million doses in a month. [url]
- Genetically modified tobacco plants can be grown and harvested by robots — producing vaccine proteins very quickly and efficiently — without the need for human labor. These robots can grow tens of thousands of tobacco plants in a batch, and it’s likely only a matter of time before researchers can get these plant factories to produce other kinds of pharmaceuticals. [url]
- Flublok relies on insects to grow flu vaccines for us — a process that has been used for other kinds of vaccines, but has only started to be used for the flu. Flublok has already been FDA approved, so it will be available to patients for the 2013-2014 flu season. [url]
- Bananas could potentially be grown with edible vaccines, but the regulatory hurdles for development have caused researchers to focus on non-edible vaccines grown in other plants (like tobacco). Bananas grown for edible vaccines might still be viable for treating fish or other animals. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.
Filed Under: bananas, flu, flu season, flublok, gmo, h7n9, robots, sars, tobacco, vaccine
Comments on “DailyDirt: Fighting The Next Pandemic”
Gee, what could go wrong?
Creating vaccines from transgenic plants seems much less dangerous than the flu itself. You do realize that insulin is produced by transgenic microbes nowadays, right?
and this is exactly why you need big Pharm companies thriving, and making money off what they already produce.
You cannot expect some backyard cloning company to produce these vaccines.
“DARPA has a challenge out to anyone who can produce vaccines at a rate of 10 million doses in a month. [url]”
so with a population of 300 million (the US), you would only have to wait 30 months to produce a vaccine for a YEARLY changing pathogen, by they time you’ve produced the vaccine for your population they are either dead or the virus has changed!!!!
Uh, you think that if a small company can figure out how to manufacture 10 million doses in a month that it couldn’t scale it up in an actual pandemic?
Plus, the existing big pharma companies don’t have the technology to produce 300 million doses instantly, either.
Re: Re: Re:
10 million a month IS the scaled up goal they are being asked to achieve. Otherwise they would have set the challenge to something different to what it is !!!!!
it’s not rocket surgery!!!
Re: Re: Re:
they are not asking you to ‘figure out’ how too, they are asking you TO DO IT, or show (prove) you can do it.. and no I do not believe a small company would be able to show they could produce 10 mil does per month..
because they are a small company, these ‘small’ companies are the ones that DEVELOP NO DRUGS, they produce public domain drugs, or drugs under license. They do not do the R&D, the development or the clinical trials..
A small company does not have the resources or capabilities (or motive) to get into the development and R&D process.
But you know that already I am sure..
Interesting, robots growing flu vaccines via transgenic tobacco plants. So this is how the machines launch their sneak attack.
Tobacco industry desperately seeking new markets … pity parade coming soon.