Soon you may not poke your pet for vaccinations !

Getting your animal vaccinated by your vet is a more time
consuming affair. You may have to get your pet taken to
the nearest veterinary clinic or you should wait the vet for
his house-call.

Often, this is more tedious if your animal is not socialized
or when the animal is difficult to handle. There are several
news emerging from the plant biotechnology sector,
promising vaccines from fruits, vegetables and even
tomatoes for disease protection.

Palatable oral animal vaccines are also emerging, though
not from the plant biotechnology sector.

A biopharmaceutical and industrial protein research
carried out in Texas has received a patent for a process
that uses plants to develop oral vaccines that can
immunize animals (and humans) against viral diseases.

This is a leap forward ahead of the present class of oral
vaccines. Plant source can be relatively economical to
produce, eliminate the need for a vet, reduce cost and the
inconvenience of the sterile needles and syringes. This
could also lead to "cultivate" vaccines near the target
population at a later stage.

The technology involves insertion of genes from viruses
into the genome of a plant that instructs the plant to
produce an antigen for a specific disease, especially plant
based protein products that immunize against viral disease.

The genetically enhanced plant can be used as an
immunizing feedstock for animals or introduced into feed
supplements. Further, safety concerns are minimized as
plants are practically incapable to harbour human or
animal pathogens. Hence, this technology also eliminates
danger of zoonotic transmission.

Commercialization of this process could save significant
costs in both vaccine production and administration, while
also making vaccination a more pleasant experience for
your pet !

Vaccination costs are generally offset by the widely
established animal insurance systems in many countries.
However, this would be quite useful in cutting costs for
public health and zoonotic disease control programmes
carried out by the Governments and NGO's in developing
countries.

The research findings should undergo several series of
trial and clinical studies before you find the product in the
market. We just wanted to update you on the industrial
research and you may have to continue immunize your
pets as usual for quite some time !

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