Japanese researchers have developed a new type of rice that could protect against cholera.
The research was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Approximately 90% of bacteria enter the body through the nose and mouth; the rice vaccine was specifically designed to target these areas, the mucous membranes. Vaccines that are injected are not as effective for diseases that affect the digestive system.
It also has the potential to be used to fight anthrax and flu.
The study and findings
The researchers produced engineered rice with a part of the cholera toxin protein in the grains. They fed mice the powered rice grain, later when fed the whole cholera toxin they did not get sick.
According to the researchers it causes immune reactions to the entire system of the body as well as the mucosal tissues such as the mouth, nose and genital tract.
It can be stored at room temperature. The vaccine was still effective after being stored at room temperature for a year. It also doesn’t have the risks of infection from an injection, thereby reducing medical waste and reducing patients fear of a needle.
The vaccine would be available as a tablet or capsule containing rice powder and should be considered a drug and not a food.