Biopharmacists have made use of new technology to create DNA vaccines using unexpected plant protein, such as tobacco leaves.
The Biopharming technique is being tested by a research unit at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
The vaccines are injected into patients to make them immune to certain viruses and have been successful, explains UCT researcher Dr Renate Lamprecht.
According to Lamprecht, it is much cheaper to create the DNA vaccines than to use expensive agents and bio-reactors.
We hijack a plant to make protein, inject the DNA... then we can purify from the plant by making smoothies or a big slush and it's been show to work for a lot of viruses.— Dr Renate Lamprecht, post-doctoral fellow at UCT’s Molecular and Cell Biology Dept.
Listen to the full conversation from CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies: