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Reuters Health Information (2005-02-14): Potato vaccine immunogenic against hepatitis B

Drug & Device Development

Potato vaccine immunogenic against hepatitis B

Last Updated: 2005-02-14 17:00:19 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In a new study US researchers show that a hepatitis B vaccine (HBV) can be delivered using transgenic potatoes and it results in an increase in anti-HBsAg titers.

"Introduction of an oral vaccine for HBV could greatly impact global immunization acceptance," Dr. Charles J. Arntzen, from Arizona State University in Tempe, and colleagues note. "We are greatly encouraged that this prototype study of human immunization against HBsAg gave a strong and sustained systemic antibody response in about 60% of the volunteers who ate transgenic potatoes."

The study involved 42 previously vaccinated individuals who were randomized to receive two or three doses of potatoes expressing HBsAg or regular potatoes. The researchers' findings appear in the February 14th early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

An increase in HBsAg titers was noted in 10 of 16 (62.5%) three-dose recipients and in 9 of 17 (52.9%) two-dose recipients, but in none of the 9 control subjects.

These results were achieved without the use of a mucosal adjuvant or the need for a buffering stomach pH, the investigators point out.

"We believe that the data presented here provide compelling evidence that orally delivered subunit vaccines can provide a useful component in a program of prophylaxis against enteric and nonenteric diseases," they conclude.

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Early Edition 2005.

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