World’s First Vaccine to Save Honeybees Developed
The number of honeybees dying every year is accelerating due to climate change, pesticides, disappearing habitats and poor nutrition. Since they play a crucial role as pollinator of crops, these deaths are alarming for the future of agricultural diversity.
Scientists at the University of Helsinki seemed to have found a way to bring down the number of such deaths by developing an edible vaccine that can work against microbial infections.
As reported in the Bloomberg, the first such vaccine inoculates bees against American foulbrood, a disease that can kill entire colonies. There is even hope that this technology may help fight fungal diseases and future bacterial infections in the future.
How Does It Work?
A sugar patty is injected with the vaccine and kept in the hive for the queen to consume over seven-ten days. After she ingests the pathogens, an immune response is generated in her offspring, thus giving way to an inoculated hive.
Freitak added that the vaccine still needs work and that scientists must ensure its safety for the environment and the bees themselves, before making it commercially available.