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Tobacco Plants Will Now Make Vaccines

tobacco plantsDarpa, the Pentagon’s research and development branch, has awarded $40 million to Texas A&M University and pharmaceutical manufacturer G-Con to develop a method for producing vaccines by growing them in tobacco.

Scientists are engineering bacteria that will carry flu markers into Nicotiana benthamiana tobacco plants, which will then create flu protein. Technicians grind up the leaves to extract the protein.

Popular Science reports:

“As plant-grown medicines gain industry popularity, this particular species of tobacco could dominate the market. Like its cash-crop cousin, it’s fast-growing and cheap.”

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

If you’ve been following the scientific news, you will have noticed that plant-based vaccines are cropping up with increasing frequency.

Bayer is testing a plant-derived vaccine for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, for example, and a Canadian company called Medicago Inc. has reported “positive results” for a tobacco-based vaccine against the avian flu (H5N1).

Likewise, the biotech firm VAXX Inc. is planning to begin a human trial of tobacco-based vaccine for the Norwalk norovirus, also dubbed the “cruise ship virus.”

In February, Texas A&M University partnered up with pharmaceutical manufacturer G-Con to launch Project GreenVax, with the intent to further develop the methods to produce vaccines quicker by growing them in tobacco plants. The project is partially funded by the Pentagon’s R&D branch, Darpa.

This is yet another sign of the transition taking place, from drugs to vaccines for every ill. Patents on many blockbuster drugs are now expiring, and the tens of billions of dollars of revenue they generated are being lost. As it is becoming increasingly difficult to find patented replacements for them, drug companies are now shifting their focus to vaccines instead.

Folks, if you think 106,000 drug-related deaths per year is bad, just wait until we start increasing the number of vaccines we are receiving. The autism epidemic is only the tiny tip of the iceberg.

From Egg- to Plant-Based Vaccine Production

But producing vaccines has always been a costly and time consuming process, as vaccines have typically been produced by growing viruses in chicken eggs. The novel process of growing the vaccine in a plant instead of an egg is about three times faster, and can cut costs by about 75 percent compared to the conventional method.

The question of course is: Is it any safer than the old method?

For 60 years, science has claimed vaccines to be both safe and effective, and time has shown neither to be correct. I’ve reported on the dangers of various vaccines repeatedly over the years.

As for flu vaccines, study after study has shown they do not work, and that they do harm.

More recently, independent testing also discovered shocking contamination of rotavirus vaccines with DNA from two different types of pig viruses, one of which is a lethal pig virus that causes wasting and death in baby pigs. One of the vaccine manufacturers confirmed that this contamination was there when the vaccine was licensed, and contaminated every one of the millions of doses of the live virus vaccine given to babies.

So, the question is, what else might end up in a vaccine from a genetically altered plant?

Popular Science declares that “a cousin of the tobacco plant could help protect us from a major flu pandemic.” But I have my doubts, because aside from the safety questions, vaccines were never the answer for the flu in the first place.

But first, let’s take a look at how this new generation of plant-based vaccines are created.

How are Plant-Based Vaccines Created?

As you may have guessed, plants normally do not create antibodies, so the first step in creating a plant-based vaccine was to genetically alter the tobacco plant so it would produce monoclonal antibodies. This technique was originally developed back in 1989, according to Science Daily.

Proponents of this novel production method state that plants don’t carry viruses that can infect humans. However, that is incorrect. Plants can be infected with viruses (see and I think it’s premature to claim that a genetically altered plant will produce 100 percent safe vaccines, especially considering that most vaccines are injected straight into your body, bypassing your natural defense mechanisms.

In addition, I believe it’s very premature to say that it’s completely safe to adjust viral antibodies in order to adapt them for production in a plant. Researchers working on a West Nile virus vaccine explained:

"We altered the genetic coding of the antibody slightly, not changing its parts but using alternate forms of the coding for those parts to maximize the plant's ability to produce it."

What do we know about the ramifications of tinkering with human immune responses or using plants that can be infected with viruses to produce vaccines?

The precautionary principle would counsel us that safety has not yet been determined...

An article in the Wall Street Journal explains the rest of the plant-based vaccine extraction process as follows:

“As a first step, researchers… isolated a protein from the H1N1 virus known to trigger a protective immune response in a patient without causing an infection.

A gene for this protein was then introduced into a bacterium. Tobacco plants were placed in a special chamber and dipped into a soup of the bacteria, which caused the plants to get infected with the gene-carrying bacteria.

The infected plants then began to produce the protein from H1N1 in large quantities. The plants grew for about a week. Their leaves were then chopped up and crushed, and the protein from H1N1—the essence of the vaccine—was extracted from the slurry and purified.”

Keep in Mind: Safety is of No Real Concern for Vaccine Makers…

Do you believe safety is a major concern for vaccine makers?

The last swine flu vaccination campaign that took place in 1976 led to thousands of lawsuits. Damage claims totaled $1.3 billion. The vaccine was associated with some 500 cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome and claimed 25 lives and hundreds of previously healthy young adults were injured. The swine flu itself claimed ONE life.

Since then, the U.S. government has taken steps to remove the financial liability for vaccine makers. Now, whenever things go awry with pandemic vaccines (as they have), they don’t have to pay a single cent to anyone.

And this new breed of plant-based swine flu vaccines, which are slated for experiemental human trials sometime next year, will be no different.

Keep in mind that if you place your sole trust in your health officials and the vaccine makers, the potential price you might pay is your physical health and financial future. Everything is at stake.

In my opinion, blindly believing that a plant-based vaccine will remove the possibility of viral contamination and potentially deadly side effects is foolhardy at best.

How to Protect Yourself Against the Flu Without Vaccination

As I stated earlier, vaccines were never the answer to preventing influenza to begin with. (Remember only 20 percent of all “flu-like” illness is actually type A or B influenza that is supposed to be prevented with getting a flu shot. Most of the time, when you get sick with what looks like influenza, it is actually associated with other viruses or bacteria).

The key to avoiding influenza, or getting through a bout of any kind of flu-like sickness without any major problems, is keeping your natural immune system in good working order. It is your primary defense against all disease, and it’s a rare bug that can overtake an optimally working immune system.

Vaccinations, on the other hand, atypically manipulate your immune system (this is the main job of the vaccine ingredients, including adjuvants that can send your immune system into overdrive and trigger autoimmunity in some people), leaving you more susceptible to other infections or serious health problems.

For example, a major study recently confirmed that those who previously received seasonal flu shots were more likely to acquire the 2009 pandemic H1N1 swine flu.

How’s that for health protection?

Following these simple guidelines will ensure you're far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with.

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