Edible vaccines – are they the future of infectious disease prevention?

For the past 200 years, vaccination has been implemented worldwide to prevent infections by means of injecting a minimum dose of a certain disease pathogen to encourage an immune response in vaccinated individuals. Unfortunately, vaccines are quite costly to develop, vaccine regulations differ from country to country, and sometimes it can take years to market them. In addition, vaccine pharmacovigilance must be implemented to monitor and ensure the safety of marketed vaccines, as even these may cause potential side effects.

Vaccine pharmacovigilance

By definition, pharmacovigilance is a scientific discipline related to the detection, assessment, understanding, and prevention of undesirable drug reactions and effects related to medicinal products, including vaccines. Vaccine pharmacovigilance is crucial for patient protection and the prevention of adverse drug reactions. Its purpose is to detect adverse events in the post-marketing phase, and to initiate risk assessment as well as appropriate risk management regarding such problems.

Our team of experts in Marti Farm have successfully developed a system for performing pharmacovigilance activities at the local and global level. Our dedicated Pharmacovigilance Department consists of highly educated, professional, and compliant staff with the necessary organisational and technical support to meet specific needs of each client, all in compliance with the legislation of the relevant country. If you have any questions or wish to collaborate with us regarding any pharmacovigilance activity, please feel free to connect with us.

Novelty called edible vaccines

Edible vaccines are a novelty currently being used in clinical trials to assess their effectiveness in order to see whether they could be used as a suitable form of vaccination in the future. In essence, edible vaccines are plants that have been injected with selected genes that can alter the plant in such a manner that it produces certain desired encoded proteins. These plants are also known as transgenic plants.

In 1992, Arizona State University professor Charles Arntzner demonstrated to the scientific community that tobacco plants could be genetically modified with the hepatitis B gene antigen. This was the first successful expression of HBsAg antigen in a transgenic plant. Since 1992, there have been multiple studies and clinical trials in which different plants were used to express antigens and proteins from certain pathogens.

Advantages of edible vaccines

Compared to normal vaccines, edible vaccines reduce the risk of animal-to-human disease transmission. Moreover, they are much more affordable to develop and market. Edible vaccines also remove the need for highly trained professionals due to the absence of needles and the associated risks of HBV or HIV infection. They can be easily stored and orally administered, and work in a way that activates mucosal immunity. The main problem with vaccines, especially in third-world countries, is that they seldom reach high-risk areas. Edible vaccines would be beneficial for such environments because they represent a cost-effective solution without the need for cold storage, sterilisation, or purification, while also ensuring easier administration.

As with normal vaccines, there are certain disadvantages to edible vaccines. The first and foremost involves regulations: it must be decided whether edible vaccines should be regulated as vaccines or food. Secondly, proper dosing should be determined, as well as the fact whether drug degradation occurs over time, what potential undesirable effects are involved with vaccine use, and if one vaccine can protect against multiple pathogens. Substantial research is still required to decide whether edible vaccines are the future of medicine, but for now they are a promising candidate in the field of vaccination.

Iva Mandić,  Senior Pharmacovigilance Associate

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HR-10000 Zagreb
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Full company name
Short company name
Headquarters
Office
Legal form
Court register
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Marti Farm Ltd. Trade and Services
Marti Farm Ltd.
Lašćinska cesta 40, HR-10000 Zagreb
Planinska ulica 13/2, HR-10000 Zagreb
a limited liability company
Commercial Court of Zagreb
080751121

 

OIB
Share capital
Authorized representative

29969122438
HRK 20,000.00 (paid in its entirety)
Martina Diminić Smetiško, director of the
company (Representing the company
individually and independently, Responsible
person for data protection)

 

Bank account

HR3623600001102197724 (Zagrebačka banka)
HR4324020061100628669 (Erste banka)

 

Full company name: Marti Farm Ltd. Trade and Services
Short company name: Marti Farm Ltd.
Headquarters: Lašćinska cesta 40, HR-10000 Zagreb
Office: Planinska ulica 13/2, HR-10000 Zagreb
Legal form: a limited liability company
Court register: Commercial Court of Zagreb
Registration number: 080751121

OIB: 29969122438
Share capital: HRK 20,000.00 (paid in its entirety)
Authorized representative: Martina Diminić Smetiško, director of the company (Representing the company individually and independently, Responsible person for data protection)

Bank account: HR3623600001102197724 (Zagrebačka banka), HR4324020061100628669 (Erste banka)

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