Vaccines Delivered By A Smoothie

Scientists have developed a method to deliver an oral vaccine using probiotics. The term probiotics refers to so-called “good” bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei, that prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria, aid in digestion, increase immune system function, and help the body resist infection. Probiotic bacteria are typically found in dairy products such as yogurt and cheese.

Dr. Mohamadzadeh, an associate professor of gastroenterology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, working along with other researchers, developed an oral probiotic vaccine to be used against anthrax. He is also at work developing a similar vaccine against breast cancer and a number of different infectious diseases.

In the study, researchers compared mice given an oral anthrax vaccine with mice given an injected anthrax vaccine. Following vaccination, the scientists then exposed both groups of mice to anthrax. The researchers found that the survival rate among both groups of mice was the same. Eighty percent of the mice in both treatment groups survived exposure to anthrax following vaccination. The new oral vaccine has yet to be tested on human subjects.

There are several benefits to using an oral vaccine connected with probiotics. First, an oral vaccine is more effective than a standard injection vaccine because it delivers the vaccine directly to the digestive system. (The center of the immune system is found in the small intestine.) When the probiotic bacteria reach the intestines, they colonize and produce the vaccine in the gut. According to Dr. Mohamadzadeh, when a vaccine is sent directly to the gut, “you get a much more powerful immune response than by injecting it.” Another potential benefit of probiotic vaccines is a reduction in side effects, such as injection site pain, nausea, or allergic reactions.

The study is published in the March 17, 2009 edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the North Carolina Dairy Foundation.

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  1. Thats cool to know

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think this new way of giving a vaccine will be effective as the other way. With this there could be a taste and that will turn people away from it.

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