A significant milestone has been reached as the US Department of Agriculture has granted approval to a vaccine for insects for the very first time. An important breakthrough, since scientists had previously held the belief that insects couldn't gain immunity to diseases due to their incapacity to produce antibodies like other animals. The lucky bug of this groundbreaking development is none other than the honeybee.
Humans have unanimously decided: the bee must be salvaged.
Humans have unanimously decided: the bee must be salvaged. Whether through motivational social media posts or catchy phrases printed t-shirts, we have directed a significant amount of attention towards these fuzzy insects. And for good reasons, considering the recent undeniable struggles of the hardworking pollinators. Next to the challenges posed by climate change and the relentless degradation of their natural habitats, the bees have also been plagued by diseases. One of the most aggressive ones is American foulbrood, a disease with the capability to eliminate an entire colony in a single blow. Responsible for this devastation are bacteria known as Paenibacillus larvae, who wield the power to wipe out thousands of bees at once. The poor beekeepers often have no other choice than to burn the hive.
Paenibacillus larvae wield the power to wipe out thousands of bees at once. The poor beekeepers often have no other choice than to burn the hive.
Fortunately, biotechnology company Dalan Animal Health has successfully engineered a preventative vaccine designed to safeguard honeybees from this relentless ailment. The drug contains dead Paenibacillus larvae which gives the evil doers a taste of their own medicine. You might fight yourself wondering now how a beekeeper will manage to vaccinate thousands of bees, but rest assured, no microscopic syringes involved. Blending the drug with the queen bee’s food is enough. As a result, new offspring will be born with a certain level of immunity to the bacteria and a healthy new generation of bees will be introduced to the hive.
With this new discovery, new doors open towards a world where we can learn to help and protest the smallest of creatures. But for now we celebrate with the beekeepers and say cheers on the improved health of the world’s tiniest livestock.