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Pushing the frontiers of vaccine innovation

Porto researchers aim to make edible vaccines

Porto researchers aim to make edible vaccines

Scared of needles? The solution is on the way in the form of fruit or yoghurt

2021 will likely go down in history as the year of the vaccines. Riding that trend, a team of young scientists from the Polytechnic Institute of Porto (IPP) have decided to break some new ground in that field by declaring that they are busy preparing an edible vaccine. Their goal is to make the vaccination process more easily comprehensible, available and, excuse the pun, digestible, to the general public.

Supposedly, the vaccine will be developed either in the form of probiotics, such as a yoghurt product or genetically modified fruit and it could become a reality in six months to a year from now.

Does it have the potential to turn the anti-vaxxer tide?

A team of young researchers from the Laboratory of Medical and Industrial Technology at the IPP is a finalist in an innovative and disruptive project that is developing the Portuguese edible vaccine against COVID-19. The project, called Agro4COVID, is pioneering in its goals since it aims to increase group immunity through nutritional means.

The vaccine is presented in the form of liquid yoghurt, activated by a genetically modified carrot extract which, contrary to the traditional version of vaccines — which stimulates humoral immunity — stimulates a complementary vector called cellular immunity. In that case, the new product will be an immune-boosting vaccine.

Another alternative is to genetically modified plants that can bear fruit, which will be then turned into vaccine juice. That option, however, could take longer since the trees need to grow first and produce the fruit. Nevertheless, the researchers would like to offer several alternatives to the market in order to have large-scale producers choose what they would best see fit to gain consumer attention.

Lusa News Agency reported that the testing phase on animals is slated to begin soon.

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