Porto researchers develop edible vaccine against covid-19 – Last Minute

Vaccines are synonymous with needles, however, a team of researchers from the Polytechnic Institute of Porto (IPP) decided to break the rule and produce one against edible covid-19, in the form of yogurt and fruit juice.


This idea, which has been maturing since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, began to take shape about six months ago and since then much has been done. At the moment, ‘in vitro’ tests are underway and those carried out on animals will soon begin, Rúben Fernandes told Lusa this Friday, one of those responsible for the Medical and Industrial Biotechnology Laboratory — LaBMI at IPP. The tests will be carried out on rats, fish and a very small species of earthworm, he stressed.

Speaking of a project “completely innovative in Portugal”, the biologist explained that this vaccine, which can be ingested in yogurt or fruit juice, has the particularity of being based on genetically modified fruit plants and probiotics, he said.

In a small room, where machines, test tubes and microscopes predominate, one can see, in a reserved space, which can only be manipulated by properly equipped researchers, small tubes with even smaller plants inside and glass disks with probiotics .

“Plants are already genetically modified, as are probiotics”, explained Rúben Fernandes.

Stressing that the idea of ​​this vaccine is that it easily reaches the end user, the researcher pointed out the differences between the current ones and this one: the current ones stimulate the neutralization of the virus and the latter stimulates immunity.

“Therefore, both are preventive products, but in this case the vaccine, I will say conventional, neutralizes an infection and edible vaccines have the property of being able to potentiate other common vaccines”, he explained.

Vaccines will be able to conjugate probiotics or genetically modified plants or use just one of them, he stressed.

The biologist said that using only probiotics this vaccine could be a reality in “six to a year” because they are bacteria that can be quickly transformed.

Already using the fruits, its implementation “will be much longer” because the plants have to grow and bear fruit so that they can be used in industry and transformed into juice, he explained.

Noting that the vaccine is being financed exclusively with its own funds, Rúben Fernandes noted that, in a final phase, they will have to join forces with industrial partners in the food sector for the vaccine to reach the final consumer and gain scale.

“It will be the industry that will decide what type of product they want, we will be able to offer them several options”, he maintained.

Despite being directed to covid-19, Rúben Fernandes believes that it may be of interest to treat other types of infectious diseases.

On the possibility that in a possible new wave of the pandemic there would already be an edible vaccine, Rúben Fernandes stated that “hardly”.

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Source: SÁBADO by www.sabado.pt.

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