The bee vaccine

By: Adrian Ortega

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted a license to Dalan Animal Health, a biotech company, to produce a vaccine for bees. Announced on Wednesday, January 6, 2023, this vaccine was created to combat the American Foulbrood Disease (AFB), a disease which caused bacterium Paenibacillus larvae.

Although the vaccine raised hopes for a weapon against AFB, it is not meant to be a cure for it. Prior to the vaccine, the method in which beekeepers would combat the disease was by destroying the hive, so that the disease could not spread to the other hives. A typical beehive contains around 60,000 to 80,000 bees, so destroying even one hive could be disastrous to the surrounding ecosystem. Now, the vaccine works by injecting a bit of the weakened disease into the royal jelly, which is then fed to the queen by worker bees, and then the antibodies that the queen develops will get passed on to her eggs.

Since bees pollinate most of the world’s plants, it would be a huge problem if they died off, but thanks to the vaccine produced by the Dalan Animal health company, they have one less thing to worry about.

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