The silkworm is able to provide a completely new approach to the storage of vaccines. Infections that can be prevented still kill millions of children in poor countries, and it happens often due to the fact that there the conditions, it is impossible to ensure reliable cooling of the heat-sensitive drugs.
Cooling is carried vaccines to slow the degradation rate they contain biological molecules. And she is not caused by the degradation of more than a simple water - hydrolysis.
Fibroin - silk protein basis - due to the proximity of nature (including the nature of the substituents, polarity, and so on. N.) Forms a continuous coating around the biological molecules as a kind of pocket that repels water. As it turned out, in order to place biomolecule in a pocket, it is necessary to prepare an aqueous solution along with dissolved fibroin. Then, when it is formed by drying the film required.
Being inside these pockets, biological molecules are fully protected from harmful influence of water.
Using the method described above, researchers from Tufts University (USA) led by David Kaplan received a fibroin film with pockets for live measles, mumps and rubella (mumps), included in the standard MMR. Film coating gut viruses retained without any damage for six months at a temperature of +45 ˚C, while the control sample is dried rapidly degraded even when cooled.
A report on the study is presented in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.