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People May Soon Get Vaccinated Against COVID Just By Eating The Plant Leaves

by Shatakshi Gupta

On hearing the name of the vaccine, fear of injection comes to our mind. But injecting vaccines through syringes will be a thing of the past in future. Many scientists around the world are working on alternative methods of vaccination. One such method is vaccination through plants. Sounds strange? But scientists in the USA and some other countries are working on developing such a plant, after eating which the COVID vaccine will reach inside the human body. If simple words, then people will be given the vaccine of COVID by feeding them saplings of the plant.

The vaccine plant is being developed by researchers at the University of California in the US. With the help of the plant, they are trying to transmit the mRNA vaccine of the corona to humans.

First thing first

To know about this plant vaccine, you must know how the mRNA vaccine works.

Pfizer and Moderna have used mRNA technology to develop their vaccine. Earlier this technique was rarely used.  Recently, the use of this technology is increasing since the development of the COVID vaccine.

In this vaccine, the RNA of the virus is being studied properly and a copy of that RNA is prepared. The part of the RNA that is responsible for the spikes of the virus is then being injected inside the body.

As soon as mRNA is injected inside the body, our cells start making similar spikes just like an actual virus. This triggers our immune system and the immune system to create antibodies against these spikes. After this whole training, the body becomes capable of understanding the spike protein. Whenever the corona infects the body, the immune system recognizes the spike protein of that virus and eliminate it.

 Researchers say, the technology with which Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have prepared the COVID vaccine, we are trying to prepare the vaccine with the same technology and transmit it to humans through plants.

Also read: How Vaccine Mixing Can Be Game-Changer In Fight Against COVID-19?

How plant vaccine will work?

 Researchers believe that chloroplasts present in plants can handle mRNA. Clearly, it has a lot of potential. Let us understand what is the chloroplast. The pigment due to which the colour of plants seems green is called the chloroplast.

A team of scientists is trying to figure out how to transport and preserve mRNA in this chloroplast for a long time. If this experiment is successful, it will work as an oral vaccine.

Benefits of vaccination through plants

  • Plants are easily digested whereas there is a risk of side effects after taking the vaccine by syringe. 
  • Vaccines given in the form of plants will be easier to maintain and transport. If plants are kept at room temperature, there will be no risk of spoilage of the vaccine present in it.
  • If this experiment is successful, the vaccine plant will be a boon for low-income countries. They themselves can grow these vaccines on a large scale and distribution will also become easier.

Reduce the logistics and storage cost

The current mRNA vaccine requires an extremely low temperature and dry ice to store it.  Due to such maintenance, the cost of the vaccine becomes expensive and it becomes difficult to deliver it in rural areas. But vaccine plants can be easily grown. It can cover a long distance.

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