Israeli company develops bee vaccine

July 21, 2009 at 8:30 PM
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JERUSALEM, July 21 (UPI) -- An Israeli company says it has developed a vaccine that protects honey bees from a virus associated with the widespread collapse of bee colonies worldwide.

Beelogics says its Remembee drug has proven effective in helping bees overcome Israel acute paralysis virus, Haaretz reported Tuesday. The virus is named for the country where it was first identified.

The drug has completed successful clinical trials on millions of bees in North America, the company said. The drug also helps the bees live longer and produce more honey, the company said.

"It's really a tug of war between the virus and the host," said Nitzan Paldi of Beeologics. "We are helping the bee tug the rope more strongly and beat the virus. We take advantage of an immune system that the bees elicit for viral disease. But we are really using naturally occurring phenomenon. It's not a pesticide and it's not toxic."

Beeologics is pursing U.S. government approval for the drug, Haaretz said.

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