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The Problem: It is no secret that since the launch of Covid-19 vaccinations across the globe, a two-tier distribution of vaccines is taking place. Up until July 30th, almost half of Europeans have received at least one dose of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine while in Africa only 4 out of 100 have received a jab.
This distribution inequality derives from a variety of sources of different natures(social, economic, ergonomic and so on). One very important factor contributing to this inequality is the fact that these vaccines are difficult to distribute without the appropriate storing facilities. Moreover due to the time and fund consuming process of producing them, nations with a more direct access to their production are benefited first.
Our Solution: What we aim to create is an edible vaccine against the virus that is easily transportable and relatively cheap to create and store. It's been a few months already since we launched our project (with the support of the University of Crete) and our first results look extremely promising. We are confident that our endeavor will be fruitful and become the stepping stone in ameliorating the current situation.
Please feel free to watch our Project Reveal to learn even more:
Our Team: Our team has been created two years ago in the context of the iGEM Competition. This worldwide competition is essentially a platform for scientific teams to propose and carry out innovative ideas that revolve around the field of Synthetic Biology. Our official team's name is "iGEM Crete" and we're comprised of undergraduate students of various fields of science including Biology, Medicine, Computer Science and Materials Science.
Additionally, two project instructors are leading the team: Dr. Panagiotis(Panos) Sarris (Assoc. Professor, Univ. of Exeter, UK; Asst. Professor Dept of Biology, Univ. of Crete, GR; Group Leader IMBB-FORTH, GR.) and Dr. Charalampos Spilianakis (Associate Professor of Molecular Biology & Epigenetics, Dpt. Biology, University of Crete AND Affiliated Professor, Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology - FORTH Hellas)
How will our edible vaccine work: Our team intends to manufacture a synthetic spike S1 protein that will contain genetic information from three different strains of SARS-CoV-2 (original coronavirus strain, Beta and Alpha mutation). Eventually, our synthetic protein will be expressed in a transmembranal way in lettuce leaves and achieve antigen-presentation through activation of immunity by the gut mucosa. Such a vaccine can be given in the future not only to humans, but also to domestic or wild animals, thus limiting possible future transmission to humans and preventing future pandemics.
Media Coverage: Since our official project launch, our efforts have been noticed by many nationwide media outlets including but not limited to: "Proto Thema" , "ERT (Hellenic Broacasting Corporation) , "Open Beyond TV", "Ethnos" and so on.
If you have any questions or you'd like to know us better, feel free to contact us at:
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: iGEM Crete
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