28 April 1998
New use for crops as ‘edible vaccines’

TECHNIQUES to create edible vaccines are under way and have shown that protection from a range of illnesses and diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea and E.coli may soon be possible by eating genetically modified foods.

A small portion of potatoes carrying part of the bacterial toxin responsible for “travellers diarrhoea ” produced antibodies against the bacterium in the blood of ten out of 11 volunteers, an American team reports.

The results are reported in Nature Medicine by Carol Tacket and colleagues from the University of Maryland. Techniques to create edible vaccines in bananas are now under way, but the crop takes much longer to mature and produce edible fruit than standard crops.

  • The Times 28/04/98 page 2
  • The Guardian 28/04/98 page 7