Apr
01
2003

Edible Vaccines From Lettuce, Tomatoes And Other Plants

Can vaccines be taken by mouth (orally)? Yes, we know this from the polio vaccine.

Can vaccines be produced by plants? This does not sound likely, but this is exactly what researchers have already achieved and what they are working on now. A group of researchers under Dr. Robert Rose from the University of Rochester in New York have been working on a number of vaccines with the help of genetic engineering.

The rationale is simple: in developing countries it can be difficult to keep vaccines refrigerated and to administer them by injection in a sterile manner through doctors and nurses. Also, the cost of production can be a major factor with regard to effectiveness of the vaccine on a population basis, if large parts of the community cannot afford the vaccine. For many vaccines to be effective more than 85% of the population have to be vaccinated. Newer research has shown that the protein envelope of a virus, which has a certain surface antigen associated with it, can be broken down into smaller subunits. According to a review article in The Medical Post ( March 4, 2003, page 29) Dr. Rose and his team have isolated the DNA sequence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) envelope in the early 1990’s. They were able to program potatoes to grow the protein subparticles that were immunologically active, but were not infective (no virus activity). In other words after genetic engineering the plant grows a vaccine, which can be safely consumed and the body mounts an immune response to this modified virus protein similar to the polio vaccine, but without a trace of virus.

Edible Vaccines From Lettuce, Tomatoes And Other Plants

Edible Vaccines From Lettuce, Tomatoes And Other Plants

As potatoes have to be cooked before consumption, some of the effectiveness of the vaccine gets lost. The researchers have since concentrated on other plants like apples, bananas, tomatoes and lettuce, which are eaten in the raw state. The various diseases that are being tested at the present time are: hepatitis B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Norwalk virus, rotavirus and even the measles vaccine.

Dr. Charles Arntzen from the Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, has successfully applied the above technology to the production of plant vaccines against the Norwalk virus, the E.coli enterotoxin and hepatitis B in potatoes and tomatoes. He is taking this a step further as he is developing a technique of freeze-drying tomatoes containing the vaccine against the Norwalk virus, which allows the vaccine to be stored for long periods of time. When it is needed, it can be rehydrated and could also be delivered in pill form to vaccinate the population at risk at the time of an epidemic of enteritis the with Norwalk virus.

In summary, the new plant technology of vaccine production allows for much cheaper vaccine manufacturing. It eliminates the problems surrounding sterile injection techniques. The vaccine delivery by mouth allows for a much simpler distribution to a population at risk and can be done by lay persons. Also, a variety of vaccines will be able to be manufactured this way in future. The plant production is similar to the photocopying process where a template (the specific viral protein subparticle) is being copied by the plant. This allows for a number of vaccines against different strains of viruses to be programmed fairly quickly. It is an exciting new technique.

Here is a link to Influenza, which is one of the viral illnesses that can be significantly suppressed by vaccination.

Here is a link that explains the rationale of vaccinations and vaccination schedules.

Last edited October 25, 2014

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Apr
01
2003

Flu Shots Prevent Heart Disease, Lung Disease, Strokes And Deaths

It has been known for some time that flu shots would be beneficial. But it was not known until now whether in larger field studies people who are 65 years or older would benefit significantly and to what degree from yearly influenza vaccinations (“flu shots”).

The April 3rd, 2003 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine published the answer to this question. Dr. Nichol from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and his collegues have followed 140,055 patients of whom 55.5% were vaccinated against the flu in the 1998/1999 flu season.

They also followed 146,328 subjects during the 1999-2000 flu season of whom 59.7% were vaccinated against the flu. Below is a breakdown how they fared when compared to non-immunized controls (see table).

Flu Shots Prevent Heart Disease, Lung Disease, Strokes And Deaths

Flu Shots Prevent Heart Disease, Lung Disease, Strokes And Deaths

The examiners of this study concluded that high risk patients (asthma patients, patients with diabetes, cancer, elderly patients, arthritic patients and patients with high blood pressure) should have a yearly Flu vaccination.

Patients after Flu vaccinations. How did they do?
(based on 1998/99 and 1999/2000 flu seasons)
Complications: Observation:
Comments:
Heart disease: reduced 19% this included heart failure and heart attacks
Hospitalization for stroke: reduced 16% to 23% often hospitalization for stroke patients can be weeks and months, often resulting in other complications due to bacterial superinfections, falls or clots
Pneumonia and
influenza rate:
reduced
29% to 32%
this can lead to heart attacks and deaths from bacteria in the blood
Death rates: reduced 48% to 50% all of the deadly complications from getting the Flu remarkably reduced by Flu shots!

However, in my opinion anybody would benefit from regular Flu vaccinations as this boosts the immune system in general protecting against other infections and colds as well.

Here is a link to a chapter on the flu in Net Health Book.

Last edited October 25, 2014

Apr
01
2003

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

What is SARS? SARS is a new strain of an acute flu that leads to a high fever, a severe cough and an atypical pneumonia where the inflammation of the lung tissue caused by this new type of virus leads to a severe lung infiltration that can be detected with chest X-rays. Cases similar to SARS have been known to the medical profession for several decades under the name of “atypical viral pneumonia”.

Most viruses lead to a laryngotracheitis, affecting only the lining of the upper airways like the trachea and the voice box. However, SARS is not like this. It is a new strain of virus that goes right down into the lung tissue and leads to more severe breathing problems from secretions that plug the airsacs (alveoli) of the lungs. However, only about 3% to 4% of patients who get SARS actually die as explained in the links below (see CDC and WHO Internet sites). Here is a brief review explaining the evidence in the medical literature that is known at this time (April 2003). Since March 2003 it is known that SARS likely is transmitted by a small virus belonging into the same family of viruses like measles or mumps (the Paramyxoviridiae family of viruses). This WHO link explains this in more detail. However, Dr. Francis Allan Plummer from the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg/Canada has isolated a human metapneumo virus in six out of 8 specimens from high suspicion cases for SARS that were submitted to the Lab. It is at present not clear whether there are only one or perhaps two or three similar viruses that may work in concert in tricking the immune system not to mount an immune response in some susceptible persons whereas in the majority of patients the immune system produces enough antibodies to overcome the disease.

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

In a publication from the New England Journal of Medicine, which was released one month early on Apr.10,2003, the SARS working group noted that there has been a corona virus isolated from 18 SARS patients who died from this disease 10 to 14 days into it and that this was a new strain of virus, which likely originated from a single ill health care worker from the Guangdong Province in China. These researchers used genetic tests (reverse transcription- polymerized chain reaction), electron microscopic tests of cell cultures with throat swabs from infected SARS patients as well as immunological tests with group specific corona virus antibodies to pinpoint the cause of SARS.

The new name for this virus: Urbani SARS-associated coronavirus in honor of Dr. Carolo Urbani, a WHO investigator who died of SARS himself when he investigated the early epidemic in Asia.

There might be inborn (genetic) weaknesses in some patients. The National Institute of Health is developing a vaccine against the corona virus, which is thought to trigger SARS. At the present time the best therapy is isolation in a hospital for those who are very sick with a possible combination treatment with corticosteroids and antiviral antibiotics, which may be 70% effective in halting the disease. The most important point is prevention of further transmission by isolation procedures (quarantine). Hopefully there will be a vaccine available soon, which could possibly be incorporated into the Flu vaccine.

More information in Dr. Schilling’s Nethealthbook:  http://nethealthbook.com/infectious-disease/infectious-disease-infections/severe-acute-respiratory-syndrome/

Here is a link to the official CDC site about SARS

This link brings you to the World Health Organization site (WHO) where SARS is discussed.

Last edited October 25, 2014

Dec
01
2002

Study Shows Echinacea Not Effective For The Common Cold

A study shows echinacea not effective for the common cold. 148 college students participated in this experiment at the University of Wisconsin. The researchers wanted to see whether Echinacea was more effective than placebo (“fake pills” with no herb in it). The Annals of Internal Medicine (Ann Intern Med 2002;
137:939-946,1001-1002) published this study recently.

How they did the experiment

The students were given 1 Gram capsules of a mixture of Echinacea herbs that can he bought in health food stores. With the onset of the common cold the students were given 1 capsule 6 times daily for the first day and three times daily from the second to the 10th day. The researchers examined all the students in the placebo group and the Echinacea group for symptoms, duration of the cold and the severity of the cold. The mean duration for both groups was 6 days. None of the criteria in measuring the severity of the cold symptoms were different in both groups. Dr. Barrett, the lead investigator concluded that there was no measurable difference between the two groups, but added that the findings of this trial should not be “the last word” on Echinacea. More studies need to investigate this matter.

Study Shows Echinacea Not Effective For The Common Cold

Study Shows Echinacea Not Effective For The Common Cold

Conclusion

Here is the problems with the study.  The investigators assumed that a placebo pill would not have an effect. However, countless other studies have shown that a placebo often has a 15% to 20% effect. On the other hand it is difficult to have another control for this by not taking any pill. It would be obvious to the subject in the trial that they are the negative control. A negative placebo effect would kick in. So, don’t stop taking Echinacea yet, if you have been taking this normally to treat a common cold. But those of you never took it in the past, you may want to wait first. See what other studies will say in future regarding Echinacea.

Last edited September 16, 2018

Nov
01
2002

Heart Attack And Stroke Risk Measured With C-Reactive Protein

An old blood test that has been popular in assessing how aggressive rheumatic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus are, is now considered as the newest test to assess the risk of heart attacks. Up to now subfractions of cholesterol, in particular the LDL cholesterol level, has been used to assess the risk for a heart attack, but this according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine (Nov. 14, 2002) by Dr. Paul Ridker should be supplemented by a blood test checking for the C-reactive protein. What is interesting about the C-reactive protein is that it originates from certain lining cells in blood vessels of liver tissue when inflammatory substances circulate in the body. Other research has shown in the past that arteriosclerosis is in part due to an inflammatory process in the lining of the blood vessels that leads to the production of the C-reactive protein. Unfortunately other chronic illnesses and infections also lead to an elevation of the C-reactive protein as does the common cold or the flu. However, when 28,000 women of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study were followed for 8 years it turned out that the C-reactive protein was a more reliable predictor for who would eventually suffer from a stroke or a heart attack than the traditional LDL cholesterol. The investigators felt that the LDL cholesterol is predictive for who is more likely to develop fatty deposits (atheromatous plaques). On the other hand the C-reactive protein appears to be more predictive for who is at a high risk for rupture of these atheromatous plaques. The bottom line is prevention by eating a diet with less fatty meats, by eating more fruit and vegetables and by engaging in an exercise program.

Heart Attack And Stroke Risk Measured With C-Reactive Protein

Heart Attack And Stroke Risk Measured With C-Reactive Protein

Some patients need their cholesterol reduced with medication such as the statins. You may want to browse through these useful related links to chapters of my free Internet based Nethealthbook: For more details regarding the use of the C-reative protein test in rheumatoid arthritis see this link: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/rheumatologicaldisease_rheumatoidarthritis.php Regarding arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes follow this link: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/cardiovasculardisease_heartdisease.php

Last edited December 10, 2012