Antibodies from plants work well on humans

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Posted by Paul on December 12, 1998 at 06:07:09:

Antibodies produced by genetically engineered plants seem to work just as well as those naturally
produced by the body, researchers reported Sunday.

The antibodies, nicknamed ``plantibodies'', worked against
the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), which causes genital herpes,
the researchers reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Dr. Kevin Whaley and colleagues in the department of
biophysics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore used
soybeans, genetically engineered to produce the human antibody
against HSV-2.

The monoclonal antibody they purified from the soybeans was
just as effective as one made by mammals for protecting mice
against genital herpes, they reported.

Soybeans are often genetically engineered to produce human
proteins, and are a cheap and abundant source of them.

Other plants have also been grown to produce human
compounds, including potatoes that have been tailored to produce
vaccines against type-1 diabetes and cholera.

Other U.S. researchers are working on a rabies vaccine grown
in tomatoes and spinach, while Australian scientists are working
on an oral measles vaccine using tobacco plants.