NORTH DAKOTA (NBC/KVLY) - Sometimes we find the cure for disease where we'd least expect it.
In this case, geese could hold the key to treating everything from malaria to rabies.
It all started out as a research project to develop a serum to protect people from a pesky outdoor nuisance and the disease it can carry: the West Nile virus.
Mosquitoes can pick up the virus from diseased birds and transfer it to humans.
Researchers found that geese can rapidly produce the antibodies needed to create serums to treat people for West Nile disease.
But, what's most amazing is that researchers found geese can be used to produce serums to treat all kinds of diseases.
"And we have gone into researching its use of their antibodies for dengue fever, for pandemic influenza, malaria, rabies," said Richard Glynn, researcher with Avianix. "We're also working with a group on cancer."
Researchers introduce the dead virus of any given disease to a goose.
The goose then quickly produces an antibody to that disease, which is extracted from its egg yolk and used to create the serum to treat that disease.
"What's really exciting about this is the goose provides a platform and produces antibodies rapidly to a variety of viruses -- probably toxins, maybe even cancers," said medical student David Bradley.
It's all amazing, heady stuff that's being reviewed by the FDA.
Who knows? We may all find that one day geese are the answer to many of mankind's medical problems.
All of this still depends on approval for human use by the FDA.
However, the government is interested in this research because it could be used to quickly develop vaccines for biological agents spread by terrorists.
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