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Scientists Experiment with Vaccinations in Modified Corn

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posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 10:55 PM
AMES, IOWA -- Iowa State University researchers are putting flu vaccines into the genetic makeup of corn, which may someday allow pigs and humans to get a flu vaccination simply by eating corn or corn products.

"We're trying to figure out which genes from the swine influenza virus to incorporate into corn so those genes, when expressed, would produce protein," said Hank Harris, professor in animal science and one of the researchers on the project. "When the pig consumes that corn, it would serve as a vaccine."

This collaborative effort project involves Mr. Harris and Brad Bosworth, an affiliate associate professor of animal science working with pigs, and Kan Wang, a professor in agronomy, who is developing the vaccine traits in the corn.

According to the researchers, the corn vaccine would also work in humans when they eat corn or even corn flakes, corn chips, tortillas or anything that contains corn, Mr. Harris said. The research is funded by a grant from Iowa State University's Plant Sciences Institute, and is their Biopharmaceuticals and Bioindustrials Research Initiative.

If the research goes well, the corn vaccine may be possible in five to seven years. In the meantime, the team is trying to expedite the process. "While we're waiting for Wang to produce the corn, we are starting initial experiments in mice to show that the vaccine might induce an immune response," Mr. Bosworth said.

Mr. Harris said the team still needs more answers. "The big question is whether or not these genes will work when given orally through corn," he added. "That is the thing we've still got to determine."

Stability and safety are several advantages to the corn vaccine. Once the corn with the vaccine is grown, it can be stored for long-term without losing its potency, researchers claim. If a swine flu virus breaks out, the corn could be shipped to the location to try to vaccinate animals and humans in the area quickly. Because corn grain is used as food and feed, there is no need for extensive vaccine purification, which can be an expensive process.

I searched for this on the board since its a sory from a couple months ago but I couldn't find anything....thoughts?

posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 11:05 PM
That is just messed up. I don't want the freakin corn that is being grown already, because of the introduction of the jellyfish dna that is supposed to be repelling insects, but has long term effects on us too! What happened to just growing food?? Why does it have to be so complicated and scientific??? We would all be better off if we could just grow our our everything like we used to!

posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 11:12 PM
I do believe corn itself is a hybrid of two different types of plants that merged together on its own to create this 'perfect' vegetable that they put into everything. I dont think they need to add anything to it. I live near this so its kind of embarressing. I don't know if theyre just trying to help in their own way but I don't like that at all.

posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 11:28 PM
Yea, this is a great idea

Let's make a virus that will be able to genetically mutate itself through swine, birds, humans AND corn!


Seriously, anyone know an island somewhere that I can take my family to that is AWAY from mad scientists?

posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 11:51 PM
This is bad. Corn is in everything it seems as it is.

They'll "vaccinate" us one way or another..

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 12:13 AM
Oh great. Next thing, they'll be using it in our fuel so all we'll all have to do is breath the exhaust fumes driving down the road to get treated.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 12:50 AM
Can you cite other sources? Yours requires a registration, which I'm not willing to do, and I would really like to hear something peer-reviewed on this.

Because to me, it sounds like a waste of time and money. The whole concept is flawed, because influenza viruses mutate so rapidly that we have to keep making new vaccines just about every year. This years vaccine will not be effective against next years. So by the time we know what we're up against, get the crops modified, distribute it, plant it, grow it, harvest it, process it, and sell it - the vaccine is no longer effective.

Further, such a model would have to be a supplementary procedure - because there's no way to guarantee that corn production alone would be enough to guarantee coverage to all who wanted to be vaccinated. It introduces far too many unknown variables to the already very delicate situation. We already have a Universal Flu Vaccine that prevents all forms of influenza - but we're not using it because it hasn't passed clinical trials yet. It's only passed Pre-Clinical and Phase I clinical. With flying colors thus far... but it's too much of a risk in the face of a very immediate threat. In fact, testing on the UFV has slowed to allow more research and manufacturing to deal directly with the current threat.

If the Swine Flu breaks out again 6 to 7 years from now will not be the same strain as the current Swine Flu virus... any vaccination via this means would be pointless.

I think you guys are just freaking out over research which is just "proof of concept". There's every indication that by the time it's ready, we'll have all strains of Influenza pretty much whipped.

Influenza vaccines used today are strain specific and need to be adapted every year to try and match the antigenicity of the virus strains that are predicted to cause the next epidemic. The strain specificity of the next pandemic is unpredictable. An attractive alternative approach would be to use a vaccine that matches multiple influenza virus strains, including multiple subtypes. In this review, we focus on the development and clinical potential of a vaccine that is based on the conserved ectodomain of matrix protein 2 (M2) of influenza A virus. Since 1999, a number of studies have demonstrated protection against influenza A virus challenge in animal models using chemical or genetic M2 external domain (M2e) fusion constructs. More recently, Phase I clinical studies have been conducted with M2e vaccine candidates, demonstrating their safety and immunogenicity in humans. Ultimately, and possibly in the near future, efficacy studies in humans should provide proof that this novel vaccine concept can mitigate epidemic and even pandemic influenza A virus infections. ~ Expert Rev Vaccines. 2009 Apr;8(4):499-508.

PubMed: Universal M2 ectodomain-based influenza A vaccines: preclinical and clinical developments.

reply to post by VintageEnvy

I do believe corn itself is a hybrid of two different types of plants that merged together on its own to create this 'perfect' vegetable that they put into everything.

Humans created Corn by the selective breeding of Teosinte over several thousand years. Sort how we created the Bovine from the Auroch.

It's a little late to be complaining about Genetic Modifications in Corn.
It's like walking down the middle of a highway and complaining that you have to keep stepping off the road because of all these damn "cars" people up and invented.

reply to post by space cadet

What happened to just growing food??

Dude... almost everything you eat is genetically modified by humans via selective breeding. Quite a few varieties wouldn't exist at all without constant human intervention. The Navel Orange, for example, is seedless because of a mutation that made it sterile. We discovered this trait, and have been artificially keeping that same plant alive since 1820 by cutting and grafting it. Bananas were cultivated in much the same way. The problem is, however, that because these plants don't naturally reproduce - their gene pool has extremely low, almost zero, diversity and no way of naturally diversifying. The Gros Michel Banana used to be the most dominant Banana in the American marketplace until susceptibility to Panama Disease (a fungal infection) put the entire Banana market at risk of collapse or extinction. To avoid this, the Gros Michel was phased out in favor of the Cavendish (that we eat today) which is more resistant to Panama Disease.

Learning how to grow food, is what happened to growing food.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 11:29 PM
Hey there, here's some more sources....I posted the whole thing off of the meat and poultry site because I didn't know if it would ask you to get an account or not.....

These are just reprinting the story on their sites:

And, then from the ISU Website itself :

I would like to add that I myself am not freaked out about the swine flu. Also, Im not super freaked out about vaccines. But, I don't like the idea of them putting something in my food of this nature. I don't want to be vaccinated against it, I don't fear getting the swine flu and, I don't want it in my food.

I also live in Iowa which is why this whole thing caught my attention.

The corn vaccine would also work in humans when they eat corn or even corn flakes, corn chips, tortillas or anything that contains corn, said Harris.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 11:39 PM
Yeah, something like this would ultimately culminate into a breakfast cereal that is "Fortified with vitamins, minerals & vaccines" lol.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 11:34 AM
reply to post by VintageEnvy

Thank you for the links. While not peer-review literature, their mention on New Scientist and Iowa Universities websites is evidence enough that there is. So... Awesome. The first link you provided, does a good of quoting the scientists working on the vaccine, but does poorly at providing context for what they're saying - or of providing evidence of malicious intent. It leaves a lot of vital information out.

First, quick question on what research has made you feel that the concept of vaccination in and of itself is a dangerous process? It's true that some people do have adverse affects to vaccines, and they are not totally effective. All of our bodies bio-chemistries are slightly different and unique, so they all work just a bit differently from each other. This really is the subject for another talk or another time, but Pharmco Genomics (designer medicine) is starting to mature as the price of gene sequencing continues to drop. If you want a quick primer on Designer Medicine, C0nc0rdance made an excellent video highlighting it along with an example of application. The video was designed as a response to Creationists, and the reference is at 2:55 if you want to skip right to it. I would suggest watching the whole thing for refresher on evolution - since it's vital to understanding the issue.

Ok, now, let's take a look quick at the New Scientist article that was referenced.

Genetically engineered potatoes containing a hepatitis B vaccine have successfully boosted immunity in their first human trials. But the newly-published study missed a moving target - drug developers are now abandoning their quest for vaccines contained in staple foods like bananas, tomatoes or potatoes. The hope was that the altered foods would provide a cheap source of vaccines that could be grown and administered in poorer countries without the need for costly refrigeration or needle injections. However, developers have changed tack to avoid any possibility of vaccine-laden food straying into shops or markets. If this occurred, it could be unwittingly eaten by consumers, with unpredictable results.

Because of the aforementioned slight variances in body chemistry, it's very hard to make "one size fits all" medicines. Those small variances in genetics can have profound impacts on health. In fact, this is where the majority of side-effects from medicine come from... because we currently don't have a cost effective way of scanning the genome to see what chemical compounds work the best for what body chemistry. This is why several stages of clinical trials are necessary both in animals, in culture tissue, and multiple waves of human trials. It's a very cautious procedure, and all tests are Double Blind to help reduce bias and error. Still, complications often emerge after a drug has been on the market for longer than it's clinical trial period due to these unknown interactions either with the body's natural chemistry - or with chemicals the patient ingests on their own which have reactions.

I'm not sure what you think or know about complexity/chaos theory - but that might be worth looking into as well if you're unfamiliar with the concepts. I can provide some links if you want, but for the meantime - a good conceptual example is the paradox between how someone can die from a small blood vessel rupture in the brain, yet people like Phineas Gage can occasionally blow out large sections of their brain matter in massive head traumas and survive.

It's because of this level of unpredictability that drug companies didn't want to put it into the general food supply, but rather to put it into the leaves of a plant that we do not eat or feed to our livestock regularly. The article goes on to say:

We're doing all the animal studies now," says Arntzen. A number of plants are being investigated, but the best results so far have been in Nicotiana benthamiana, a relative of tobacco already widely used in research, but previously not eaten. "There's no edible use of it at all," he says. The leaves are harvested, washed, ground-up and freeze-dried for preservation before packaging in capsules. The freeze-drying means they survive in hot climates, avoiding the need for refrigeration which hampers delivery of conventional, heat-sensitive vaccines. The approach also means that the vaccine can be delivered in uniform doses, making it more likely to win approval from regulators.

In a fuller context, it shows that the researchers and manufacturers WERE consciously moving away from the unpredictability of putting vaccines in our food products - and opting for a more controlled and measured method of distribution. Whether you suppose it was out of greed (lawsuits) or concern (unnecessary human risk) - there isn't enough information present to say. I would suspect both played a large factors.

However, since then, things have changed. We've made further progress with the universal Flu Vaccine - meaning we don't have to keep throwing modification after modification into the genetic code of the crop to keep up with the current catalog of active and most potentially virulent strains for any given year. Just because a new strain emerges, doesn't mean that old strains have disappeared. People still (rarely) die of the Black Plague in America This is why multiple vaccinations are often given in a single shot.

Now, by targeting the M2e conserved protein, it will effectively break pretty much all Influenza A virus strains by targeting it on a very integral level. This brings the number of factors to take into account down to a far more manageable level. We can realistically do studies and trials with GM crops and if they go well, consider adding it to food supply with much more conservative and reasonable safety estimates.

New Scientist: Universal Flu Vaccine could put an end to all Flu.

Ultimately, if testing pans out, this solution solves several problems with the current vaccination program. It's dirt cheap, removes complicative tissue/eggshell preservatives, cuts revenue and productivity losses due to missed work/school, is simplistic and stable enough to make accurate and testable models by which to gauge and mitigate emergent safety risks/reduce side-effects, as well as provides nearly global coverage in a staple food component. Further, because we use corn to feed both pigs AND poultry - it would provide help provide immunity in them as well. This is rather important, because by severely reducing it's ability to reproduce in it's top three major vectors - this will provide a double-whammy effect. Inhibiting it's ability to reproduce will slow the rate of descent with modification while targeting a vital structure so delicate that really any modification - would break it. Effectively putting on the brakes on it's evolution when it most needs to step on the accelerator.

We're not there yet, and there's still a lot of research which needs to be done. But hopefully if that research continues to go smoothly, this could save countless lives.

(Continued in next post)

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 12:20 PM
reply to post by Lasheic

---- Following Quote is from the Chetday article ---

No mention in the brief article from the scientists about the ethics of this endeavor. Nor no mention of how such a program would totally violate patient consent, nor how this new corn would be labeled and presented to the public, or if it would even be differentiated from non-vaccinated, non-genetically modified corn at all.

That's an issue to take up with the editor and writer/interviewer, not the scientists and researchers. Nor was the ethics of the matter the purpose or focus of the discussion.

Rest assured, scientists DO hotly debate the ethics of their research. It's generally not promoted to the public (perhaps a mistake), because honest and purposeful debates require comprehensive knowledge of the technologies and policies they're debating. You have to know the actual implications of the technology, before you can effectively argue it's morality. Uninformed and belligerent outbursts over dogmatic misconceptions get the debate on morality nowhere, and only slow down meaningful progress.

However, such moral concerns and debates are not by any means withheld from the public either. Most people simply never bother looking for them. If you want to eavesdrop on the morality surrounding what the scientists are doing, I can recommend a starting point.

The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics

The ethics of food and agriculture is confronted with enormous challenges. Scientific developments in the food sciences promise to be dramatic; the concept of life sciences, that comprises the integral connection between the biological sciences, the medical sciences and the agricultural sciences, got a broad start with the genetic revolution. In the mean time, society, i.e., consumers, producers, farmers, policymakers, etc, raised lots of intriguing questions about the implications and presuppositions of this revolution, taking into account not only scientific developments, but societal as well. If so many things with respect to food and our food diet will change, will our food still be safe? Will it be produced under animal friendly conditions of husbandry and what will our definition of animal welfare be under these conditions? Will food production be sustainable and environmentally healthy? Will production consider the interest of the worst off and the small farmers? How will globalisation and liberalization of markets influence local and regional food production and consumption patterns? How will all these developments influence the rural areas and what values and policies are ethically sound? All these questions raise fundamental and broad ethical issues and require enormous ethical theorizing to be approached fruitfully. Ethical reflection on criteria of animal welfare, sustainability, liveability of the rural areas, biotechnology, policies and all the interconnections is inevitable. Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics contributes to a sound, pluralistic and argumentative food and agricultural ethics. It brings together the most important and relevant voices in the field; by providing a platform for theoretical and practical contributors with respect to research and education on all levels.

Now... because they are academic journals, they do not sustain themselves on commercial advertising revenue like public publication does. This is to help reduce bias from corporate interests tainting research results and publication matter. On the inverse, consider the recent turbulence Glenn Beck caused advertisers on Fox News. If Glenn says something too far out of line, advertisers can threaten to pull funding... which provides strong incentive for Glen to stay in line or get fired. Either way, if he doesn't keep within bounds - he's silenced.

The removal of commercial advertising helps mitigate this problem. On the inverse... the consumer picks up the cost. The most expensive issue I saw on casual glance was titled Aquaculture, Innovation and Social Transformation... and it runs for about $230.00. The cost may sound prohibitive, but generally they're bought or the libraries of research institutes which can pay for one copy they all share.

However, there is absolutely nothing to actually stop you from obtaining that Journal, or the entire series, if you can pay for it. There is nothing to stop ATS members from chipping in $1.00 or .50 cents or whatever you're willing to donate towards a ATS "PTB Watchdog Fund" or something and purchase those journals for yourselves.

Also, as a post-note... since greed is often claimed to be a motivation behind the push for vaccinations, I found an article for you guys confirming a clear link between Corporate/Government profit and how they gain from pushing to get as many people immunized as possible.

Cost-effectiveness of heptavalent conjugate pneumococcal vaccine (Prevenar) in Germany - Eur J Health Econ. 2008 Feb;9(1):7-15. Epub 2007 Mar 2.Click here to read

In Germany, the seven-valent conjugate vaccine Prevenar is recommended for use in children at high risk of pneumococcal disease. Recent data suggest that giving conjugate vaccine to all children may lead to a decline in pneumococcal disease in unvaccinated adults, a phenomenon known as herd immunity. This analysis evaluated the cost and economic consequences in Germany of vaccinating (1) children at high risk, (2) all children when considering only benefits for vaccinated individuals and (3) all children when also considering herd immunity benefits. Costs in the model included vaccination, management of meningitis, bacteraemia, pneumonia and acute otitis media, insurance payments to parents and the costs of care for long-term disabilities. The model estimated that the cost-effectiveness of vaccination would be 38,222 euros per life year gained in children at high risk and 100,636 euros per life year gained in all children when not considering herd immunity. When considering herd immunity effects, the model estimated that offering vaccination for all children would reduce adult deaths by 3,027 per year, and vaccination would be broadly cost neutral. The findings are sensitive to the effect of conjugate vaccine on the rates of pneumonia and invasive disease in the elderly. If the herd immunity effect of conjugate vaccination in Germany is similar to that observed elsewhere, offering vaccine to all children will be more attractive than the current policy of restricting vaccination to children at high risk of pneumococcal disease.

posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 02:16 AM

Originally posted by Lasheic
reply to post by VintageEnvy

First, quick question on what research has made you feel that the concept of vaccination in and of itself is a dangerous process?

I actually don't think vaccines are dangerous. I am a supporter of them and think that they do an amazing amount of good over the bad. I just posted this because I'm wary of the thought of them putting this in a food that really is in almost everything americans eat.

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