Meat From Animals Injected With mRNA “Vaccines” May Soon Make Its Way Into the US Food Supply

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by Megan Redshaw, Discern Report:

Shrimp have become the latest addition to a growing list of food sources targeted by mRNA gene therapy technology. An Israeli company seeking to bring mRNA vaccines to shrimp farming has raised $8.25 million from a group of venture capitalists to promote and improve animal health in marine species through its orally administered RNA-particle platform.

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ViAqua, a biotechnology company, created an RNA-based vaccine product that uses ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) to manipulate gene expression in shrimp. RNAi is a biological process where RNA molecules are used to inhibit gene expression or translation by neutralizing targeted mRNA molecules.

The vaccine comes in the form of a coated feed supplement designed to enhance resistance to white spot syndrome virus (WSSV)—a viral infection that causes an annual loss of about $3 billion and a 15 percent reduction in global shrimp production. ViAqua suggests RNA molecules can inhibit the expression of genes that cause disease with every meal containing its coated product.

According to a 2022 proof-of-concept study, the nanovaccine was roughly 80 percent effective in a lethal WSSV challenge model and exhibited excellent in vivo safety profiles. Yet the risks of altering gene expression in shrimp and the effects of consuming vaccinated shrimp are unknown.

“Oral delivery is the holy grail of aquaculture health development due to both the impossibility of vaccinating individual shrimp and its ability to substantially bring down the operational costs of disease management while improving outcomes,” said Shai Ufaz, CEO of ViAqua in a press release. “We are excited to bring this technology to market to address the need for affordable disease solutions in aquaculture.”

ViAqua plans to begin production in India in 2024 and believes its technology has numerous applications in aquaculture and beyond, according to their press release.

mRNA Vaccines Are Already Used in Pigs

The aquaculture industry is not the only market being targeted with mRNA vaccines. Genvax Technologies, a startup creating mRNA vaccines for animals, in 2022 secured $6.5 million in funding to develop a self-amplifying mRNA (saRNA) platform that allows for rapid development of a herd or flock-specific vaccine matched 100 percent to the circulating variant at the root of a disease outbreak.

Genvax’s technology involves inserting a specific transgene or “gene of interest” matched to the variant strain into the platform. The saRNA then generates an antibody response without requiring the whole pathogen to be matched to the circulating strain.

In April 2022, Genvax was awarded a $145,000 grant by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to develop an saRNA vaccine for African swine flu (ASF) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ASF is a highly contagious virus with a 100 percent swine mortality rate but has never occurred in the United States.

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According to a 2022 paper published in eClinicalMedicine, saRNA technology uses lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) to encapsulate saRNA. When injected as a vaccine, the LNP encapsulation facilitates “endosomal uptake and release into the cytoplasm of target cells in vivo.” This novel technology has “significant and previously untested potential” to be used in drugs and vaccines.

Genvax isn’t the first company to harness mRNA technology in pigs. Merck, in 2018, introduced SEQUIVITY, a “revolutionary swine vaccine platform” that uses RNA particle technology to create “customized prescription vaccines against strains of influenza A virus in swine, porcine circovirus (PCV), rotavirus and beyond.”

SEQUIVITY uses electronic gene sequencing to generate RNA particles that, when injected into an animal, provide instructions to immune cells to translate the sequence into proteins that act as antigens, similar to how the COVID-19 vaccine causes the body to generate spike proteins. The idea is that the animal’s immune system, when challenged with the actual live pathogen, will recognize the antigen and elicit an immune response.

According to Merck, their RNA participle technology allows for the development of a “safe and flexible” custom swine flu vaccine in only eight to 12 weeks compared to traditional vaccines that take years to develop.

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