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Trehalose, the healthful sugar, is gaining importance in World NEWS.


JC Spencer:
Comments by J. C. Spencer

Trehalose, the healthful sugar, is gaining importance in the NEWS world wide.  Today the APO (African Press Organization), the African News Source covering the Convention on Biological Diversity 19-30 May 2008 / Nature’s 100 Best Initiatives, mentions the role of the remarkable sugar trehalose in medicine for preserving vaccines so they need not be refrigerated.

A project called Resurrection Plant is focusing on the use of trehalose.  The project spokesperson states that two million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, rubella and whooping cough each year. By some estimates, breakdowns in the refrigeration chain from laboratory to village means half of all vaccines never get to patients.

A plant found in Central and Southern Africa called Myrothamnus flabellifolia whose tissues can be dried to a crisp and then revived without damage, courtesy of a sugary substance produced in its cells during drought.  Bruce Roser, a biomedical researcher who along with colleagues recently founded Cambridge Biostability Ltd to develop fridge-free vaccines based on the plant’s remarkable sugar called trehalose.

The product involves spraying a vaccine with the trehalose coating to form inert spheres or sugary beads that can be packaged in an injectable form and can sit in a doctor’s bag for months or even years.

Trials are underway with the Indian company Panacea Biotech and agreements have also been signed with Danish and German companies.

The development, based on mimicking nature, could lead to savings of up to $300 million a year in the developing world while cutting the need for kerosene and photovoltaic powered fridges.  Other possibilities include new kinds of food preservation up to the storage of animal and human tissues that by-pass storage in super cold liquid nitrogen.


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