Dr Henry Daniell: A pioneer of new age vaccine

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Mar 2018 09:57:08


By Rajendra Diwe,

Vaccines and other anti-infective drugs made from plant origin could control the cost

People could get affordable, effective and safe drugs

Prof Daniell’s talk today

Alumni Association of University Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UDPS), Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University has organised Dr Avinash Keshav Dorle memorial lecture series 2018 on March 14 at Dr Vasantrao Deshpande Hall, Civil Lines from 10.30 am. Prof Henry Daniell, University of Pennsylvania USA will deliver a lecture on ‘A novel approach for production and delivery of affordable biopharmaceuticals,’ Prof Arvind Lali, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai will speak on ‘Advanced bioprocessing for production of modern drugs’ and Dr Raja Smarta of Interlink Concultancy, Nagpur will deliver lecture on ‘Managing Yourself’ during the three plenary sessions being held on this occasion.

Insulin is the drug to treat diabetes. Though, the drug is available across the world for more than 50 years, 90 per cent of the Global population could not afford to purchase the same because of its cost. A path-breaking research by Dr Henry Daniell, a molecular biologist and Professor and Director of Translational Research, Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, USA, has shown the way to make insulin cheaper by 100 to 500 times than its present cost.

Dr Henry Daniell has been considered as a real-life superhero in USA as he is instrumental in bringing paradigm shift to use plants to deliver medicine to the global population.

Talking to The Hitavada, Dr Henry Daniell explained, “Insulin is simply too expensive for the majority of the world to pay out of pocket especially when one-third of the global population earns less than two dollar per day.”

“Insulin or interferon a drug for cancer known as protein drug has been currently produced with the age old methods. The manufacturing of these protein drugs require fully sterile fermentation systems that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain. The drugs, which are cultivated in cell cultures of yeast and bacteria, are required to be purified to 99.99%. Plant-based drugs developed by my team has reduced the cost of the entire process,” he added.

Dr Daniell who is the fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a foreign member of the Italian National Academy of Sciences (14th American to be inducted in the past 250 years) and the Editor in Chief of the Plant Biotechnology Journal, Oxford, UK.

Dr Daniell has pioneered chloroplast genetic engineering to enhance agronomic traits and produce and orally deliver low cost vaccines and biopharmaceuticals bioencapsulated in plant cells. He is recipient of several awards for his outstanding contributions.

Dr Daniell stated, “Many vaccines like Polio, are being produced by using 100-year-old method based on using ‘killed’ or ‘inactivated’ viruses. There is no such thing as 100 percent inactivated virus. Every batch of the vaccine manufactured through this process costs millions of dollars. In addition, these vaccines require cold chain which increases the cost of vaccines and makes them difficult to transport to remote areas in developing nations where electrical connections are scarce. As the conditions are not followed, the viruses gets reverted. Three such polio vaccines are made up of live polio virus. Out of these three vaccines one of the three gets reverted and caused more severe polio.”

Dr Daniell successfully made vaccines out of plants. He said, “The new technology of producing vaccines, protein drugs or other anti-infective drugs from plants is low cost technology, no cold chain is required, no chance of reverting the viruses and can be orally delivered in capsules. Thus eliminating the need for the expensive production methods of today.”

Dr. Daniell’s research is currently supported by several NIH grants and funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bayer, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Department of Energy and USDA.