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Let food be thy medicine



Future #1: Let food be thy medicine: Copyright

The display before you is an example of Fructus Pharma’s edible vaccines introduced in 2027. After the second global pandemic of the decade, a race began to find more palatable alternatives for delivering vaccines. Fructus Pharma, led the charge with the first commercially available patented transgenic banana that contained the vaccine for the novel Nipah virus. The initial response was slow, but Fructus engaged in a powerful marketing campaign to dispel fears around genetically modified fruit.


By 2029 three major companies dominated the industry and aggressively protected their patented plants. Cross-pollination was a major concern leading to the development of island farms that were used to produce these transgenic plants away from all other food production. Robot bees were widely used to aid in necessary pollination. 


Vaccines rates in Western countries sky-rocketed thanks to this new technology and environmental impacts were drastically reduced due to the reduction in intravenous delivery. However, vaccination rates in developing countries strongly declined as the switch to edible vaccines made transport logistics difficult. In an interesting side note, Robot Bees became a favourite pet for school aged children and helped pollinate domestic garden plants suffering from the decline in bee populations.

Future #2: Let food be thy medicine: Commons

The items before you are a teaching aid used by the NGO Fructus Pharma around edible vaccines. In 2027 Fructus Pharma, a not for profit lab announced the first large scale roll out of its edible vaccines for the Nipah virus. Grown inside a genetically modified banana this new biotechnology was licensed under eco-patent commons. The lab worked in collaboration with farmers to create a system to share the banana ‘pups’ across developing countries.


While the supply of edible vaccines increased as more farmers took up local government subsidies to produce the transgenic fruit, demand for edible vaccines was slow to take off. In 2029 an intentionally region based education campaign helped local populations understand the benefits and safety of edible vaccines. 


Despite the initial hesitancy, by 2031 vaccine rates in developing countries had tripled, and as the eco-patent commons allowed open source use, more edible vaccines were developed for a wide range of fruit. In an interesting historical twist, some scientists credit the introduction of edible vaccines with the reduction in global pandemics as virus spreading animals like bats ate the vaccine laden fruit.

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