They plan to replicate bees’ natural vaccination process by delivering the treatment before the new babies are born.
Gro Amdam, an author of the study and a professor at Arizona State University, in a statement said, “Because this vaccination process is naturally occurring, this process would be cheap and ultimately simple to implement”. While that may sound like a modernist play, researchers discovered it after years of bee study.
Here is the way it works. One of the main consequences of this is that worker bees have to bring her food, however forager bees can easily pick up pathogens from their surroundings, while collecting pollen and nectar. This food includes bacteria from the outside, and once the queen eats it, pathogens are digested and moved to the body cavity – this is where the queen’s “fat body”, or a liver-like organ, is found.
In the fat body, parts of the bacteria clings to the vitellogenin protein, which carries the bacteria to the queen’s eggs through her blood, reports Clapway. Resultant of that, the newly hatched bee larvae have immune system for their protection. Vitellogenin is the carrier of immune-priming signals, something researchers did not know until now.
However, while the natural vaccination protects them from some diseases, there are still many deadly pathogens that the insects are unable to fight.
The study was published earlier this week, on Friday (July 31, 2015), in the journal PLOS Pathogens. Pieces of one’s microorganism are subsequently become healthy proteins titled vitellogenin, … “They would then be able to stave off disease”, said Freitak. The bees’ offsprings are not vaccinated per se. During the past six decades alone, managed honeybee colonies in the United States have declined from 6 million in 1947 to only 2.5 million today.
They first plan to target a destructive bee disease known as American Foul Brood, which can spread quickly and destroy hives. Creating new insect vaccines may help prevent colony collapse disorder (CCD), a disturbing phenomenon where a majority of the worker bees disappear leaving only the queen and a few nurse bees left to handle the overbearing number of immature bees, something that has been rising steadily since 2006 with no adequate explanation.
They also suggest that the discovery could extend to other species throughout the animal kingdom. An abundance of recent studies have shown how chimpanzees share people’s enjoyment of cooked food and alcohol, and now is the bees’ turn to prove that we’re not all that different.
These days, however, bees face less predictable challenges from human activities, such as pesticide use and sudden widespread transfer of plants/crops and bee pests, as well as climate change factors and other threats.