The government plans to create a manufacturing center for edible and cheaper herbal vaccines to fight future pandemics.
Official filings show that the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is testing the market on proposals to “develop a new vaccine production base, which does not exist today, capable of switching between production of Covid-19 vaccines and influenza vaccine ”.
The department called on potential vendors to explore the feasibility of the plans and assess the level of funding needed to “create a way to provide the UK with future pandemic preparedness”.
Plant-based vaccines work by infecting plant cells with antigens that trigger an immune response to viruses, which effectively “cultivates” the vaccines.
According to the World Health Organization, these vaccines can be produced cheaply in large quantities, while carrier plants such as potatoes and corn are readily accepted by patients. They are also easy to store for long periods of time, unlike the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine which must be stored at -80 degrees.