Edible maize vaccine prevents Newcastle disease
Mexican researchers have created an edible Newcastle disease vaccine
by genetically modifying maize.
The researchers hope their approach can help small-scale poultry farmers
protect their flocks, as Newcastle
disease is a major killer of poultry in developing countries.
The new approach is novel, because food-based vaccines against Newcastle
disease are not usually available in the small quantities required by single
families or villages.
"There is a big problem in delivering the vaccine to the many millions of
poor poultry keepers around the world, and the GM maize could be a possibility,"
says Frands Dolberg of the Network for Smallholder Poultry Development, which works with
partners in developing countries to promote poultry farming as a way of
Dolberg says that its success would depend on how accessible the GM maize was
to poultry farmers.
To create the vaccine, Octavio Guerrero-Andrade of the Center for Research
and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) in Guanajuato and his colleagues inserted a
gene from the Newcastle disease virus into maize DNA.
Chickens that ate
the genetically modified maize produced antibodies against the virus, providing
a level of protection comparable to commercial vaccines.
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