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Need a Polio Vaccine? Get a Plant to Grow It for You


Researchers from the U.K.'s John Innes Center have hijacked tobacco plants to have them produce a polio vaccine. Writing in Nature Communications, the team explains that they inserted genes from the polio virus into soil bacteria that's been engineered to infect plants. That causes the plants to produce something that looks like the polio virus, but is stripped of its harmful attributes, making it perfect for training people's immune systems to fight the disease without causing infection. The vaccine, once extracted, protects mice from polio. The team tells the BBC that it could create vaccines for viruses like Zika, too.