Unfortunately, everyone is pretty aware of COVID-19. The pandemic has spread so far and fast – catching many of us by surprise. While the future is still a little uncertain, what we do know is that everyone is racing to end this nightmare.
When scientists first identified this virus in 2019, efforts to find a viable vaccine began. While we still aren’t quite there yet, researchers are doing their best to bring us all sorts of innovations in efforts to alleviate the world from the pandemic.
In Canada, scientists are taking an interest in cannabis.
How Would This Work?
ZYUS Life Sciences Inc. is working alongside the VIDO-InterVac (Infectious Disease Organization International Vaccine Centre) to try to work on a COVID-19 solution that would utilize a plant expression system.
Essentially, a vaccine tries to prepare your body for if the “real threat” comes. Once vaccinated, your body learns to produce antibodies. The vaccine merely introduces these instigating antigens to you so your body can train and prepare for the real thing.
While the researchers believe they have already unearthed an antigen that could help produce a vaccine for COVID-19, they need a lot of copies of it. Cells can replicate specific proteins for later use – kind of like a microscopic factory that is just cloning proteins over and over.
This replication process is the part where plants come in. They want to investigate whether or not they can get the plants to produce the antigens needed for a vaccine for COVID-19. Traditionally, bacterial or animal cells did this job.
Why Would We Want To Use Plants?
Using plant cells, as opposed to traditional methods, has a lot of benefits. Plant cells work faster and cheaper than animal cells. Time and money are of the essence in this pandemic crisis. Additionally, you wouldn’t have to worry about animal pathogen contamination.
As of right now, they are investigating two different plants – one of which is a cannabis plant.
When Will We Know If It Works?
Although we still would be quite some time away from having a vaccine in hand, we should be pretty close to whether plants would be suitable.
Would A Virus Get Me High?
If it does work – the plant particles will only be used in the manufacturing process. You won’t have to worry about getting stoned off of the vaccine. The vaccine is merely aiming to eliminate the threat of COVID-19 and is not under investigation for other medical applications at the moment. Only time will tell what happens from here – but we cross our fingers for a positive outcome.
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