Sunday, November 10, 2013

DARPA's Flu Fighters Ramp Up Veggie-Based Vaccines


By Robert Beckhusen
 07.26.12 5:31 PM

The military wants to boost vaccine production for the deadly flu, and do so with tobacco plants like these, pictured at a Medicago greenhouse in North Carolina in May 2012. Photo: Darpa In the event of a global and highly lethal flu pandemic, we’ll need to churn out millions of vaccines as soon as humanly possible. Not easy to do considering a true vaccine can’t be developed until the pandemic has already arrived. So it’s not surprising the military wants better vaccines that can be produced at blazing speed. Preferably ones it can grow. The trick is to make lots of flu vaccines by growing tons of vegetables. That’s under exploration by researchers who hold $21 million worth of funding from the Pentagon’s mad scientists at Darpa — and Darpa has been pursuing veggie-based vaccine research, called Blue Angel, since 2005. This week, Darpa-funded vaccine firm Medicago announced it hit a key goal: producing 10 million doses of a plant-based H1N1 influenza vaccine within a month.

Read more at WIRED


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