I wonder if any of you would care to comment on the contents and implications
of the following Associated Press article by Lauran Neergaard, published in
June 16 Burlington Free Press, VT.:
NEW YORK - Biotechnology companies are closing in on new ways to vaccinate -
with a glass of transgenic milk for malaria, a banana for hepatitis, even Star
Trek-like nasal sprays and "gene guns."
This sci-fi innovation promises not only to ease the 15 vaccine shots an
average child gets by age 4, but to lower production costs and allow
protection against diseases that conventional vaccines simply can't tackle.
"Vaccines will be more than just dead pathogens injected in your arm," Gregory
Milman, pathogenesis chief at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases, said Monday.
Most are still in early development, he cautioned. But companies backed by
millions of dollars in new National Institutes of Health funding are
developing everything from edible vaccines to vaccines made of disease DNA
simply shot through people's skin cells with needleless hyposprays. "It's
very exciting technology," Milman said.
Aviron Inc. will ask the Food and Drug Administration later this year to
approve the first of these novel vaccines, a nasal spray flu vaccine for
children, who are the main spreaders of influenza. Aviron is completing
testing in adults, and reports that FluMist is more than 90 percent effective.
It doesn't just take the ouch out of flu shots. Injections only produce
antibodies against flu in patients' bloodstreams, while a nasal spray produces
a powerful but different reaction - mucosal immunity - inside the nose where
influenza strikes, Aviron President J. Leighton Read told some 4,000
scientists and companies at the biotechnology industry's annual meeting here.
"Some day we may be able to deliver all vaccines via mucosal surfaces" like
the nose or gastrointestinal tract, said Dr. Myron Levine of the University of
Maryland, who is helping develop what he calls "vaccine cuisine."
Best to all,
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