15 September 2000
GM vaccine hopes to alter public view
By FWi Satff
SUPPORTERS of biotechnology hope genetically modified plant-based vaccines against disease will change public attitudes to the technology.
Scare stories with “Frankenstein Foods” headlines have stuck and moves to introduce GM crops on to farms have faltered in the face of intense opposition.
But CropGen, set up last year to promote GM technology, blames the backlash partly on the fact that people see little benefit from the technology.
Charles Arntzen, a US scientist developing GM bananas and tomatoes that contain the hepatitis B vaccine, said he believed that such views could change.
“There is now a greater emphasis in the bio-tech industry on end products and what happens after the farm gate,” he said.
He said the technology is in place to develop edible vaccines offering cheap protection against hepatitis B and other third world killers within two years.
There are, however, a number of hurdles to be overcome before the vaccines reach the market, including getting the products licensed.