Live stock of vaccines
mulberry silkworm maggots can now offer a cheaper and simpler way to produce vaccines against two afflictions that plague the Indian livestock. Scientists from Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science (iisc) have converted the silkworms into vaccine-producing factories by infecting them with a transgenic virus. The development is significant, as the diseases caused by the rinderpest virus (rpv) and peste des petites ruminants virus (pprv) account for a large number of cattle deaths in India and other tropical countries.
To make the vaccines, the iisc scientists exploited the genetic mechanism of the virus called Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (bmnpv), which otherwise causes large-sale economic losses to sericulture farmers. "The virus contains a gene known as gp64, which is capable of protecting