An international team of researchers from Spain, the United States, and the
United Kingdom has successfully created a strain of genetically mosified
rice that will produce HIV-neutralizing proteins.
Scientists have been developing possible treatments for people infected with
HIV. Their efforts to produce a vaccine against the virus have been
unsuccessful, but oral medications have been developed that can stave off an
infection for a short period of time. These medications, however, are
unavailable in third world countries.
To help people who are at risk, the research team developed a strain of rice
with the same HIV-neutralizing proteins as the oral medications. Once grown,
the rice produces seeds that can be processed on-site to make a topical
cream containing the proteins. The cream can then be applied to the skin to
allow the proteins to enter the body.
The GM rice produces one type of antibody and two kinds of proteins that
bind directly to the HIV virus, preventing them from interacting with human
cells. The researchers note that the cost of making the cream is nominal
once the rice has been grown, and people living in infection areas can grow
as much of the rice as they need, then make the paste and apply it