Jim Roth, Veterinary Medicine, (515) 294-7632
Phyllis Peters, Veterinary Medicine Communications, (515) 294-4602
Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778


AMES, Iowa --"Plant-Derived Biologics," a scientific seminar and public hearing, will be April 5–6 in the Scheman Building at Iowa State University. It will provide a forum for discussion of the regulatory and policy issues related to the manufacture, distribution and use of plant-derived vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for use in humans and animals.

The seminar will begin at 8 a.m., Wednesday, April 5, and continue from 8 a.m. until noon, Thursday, April 6.

Jose Luis DeFabio, a top health official from the Pan American Health Organization, will open the scientific meeting, providing a public health perspective on plant-derived biologics. DeFabio has suggested that technology used to genetically enhance plants holds the potential to contribute to global vaccine programs and could have a dramatic impact on health care in developing countries.

Following the seminar, a public hearing will begin at 1 p.m., April 6. The hearing is jointly coordinated through several agencies of the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Industry participants at the meeting and hearing include the biotechnology company, ProdiGene, College Station, Texas. In February, ProdiGene conducted clinical trials to demonstrate for the first time that an oral vaccine expressed in plants gives protection against a viral pathogen in livestock. The trials were conducted in swine using an edible form vaccine for transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV).

The Institute for International Cooperation in Animal Biologics is coordinating the seminar. IICAB operates as a partnership between Iowa State University and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to facilitate the exchange of information, training and international harmonization of standards, regulations and products to assist countries in obtaining veterinary biologics for food animal needs.

Registration fee for the seminar is $250. The public hearing is free. To register, contact Dawne Buhrow, IICAB, (515) 294-7632. More information is available at www.vetmed.iastate.edu/iicab/transpl.htm

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Note to media: Representatives of the media who would like to attend all or part of the scientific meeting of public hearing should contact Jim Roth, (515) 294-7632; or Randall Levings, director of the Center for Veterinary Biologics (USDA-APHIS), (515) 663-7331. There is no charge to media.

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