Researchers create lettuce that protects against measles
- By: Samantha Chan
Australian researchers have engineered lettuce to express the measles virus H protein, bringing an edible measles vaccine one step closer to reality. The lettuce, which when freeze dried can be stored at room temperature for months at a time, contains viral protein that is heat stable up to 70°C.
Although a successful measles vaccine exists, like most injectable vaccines, it requires constant refrigeration and administration by trained personnel. This limits its usefulness in some of the countries worst affected by the disease.
“The strong point we are trying to make is that vaccines are needed that can be administered orally, without need for injection, are not too costly, and are heat stable,” said Steve Wesselingh, director of the Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health in Melbourne.
Wesselingh, who presented his latest findings at a joint meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Societies for Microbiology in Auckland,