GLP Podcast: Cell-based breast milk; Joe Mercola’s awful COVID book; More mRNA drugs coming soon?

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Cell-based breast milk might offer mothers and babies a better alternative to expensive formula in the coming years. Alternative health champion Joseph Mercola has turned the COVID-19 pandemic into a lucrative, science-free marketing opportunity. Pharmaceutical companies used groundbreaking mRNA technology to develop coronavirus vaccines. Scientists are using the same platform to develop other important therapies, including cancer and flu vaccines.

Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies as they break down these latest news stories:

Recent genetics research has shown that some mothers aren’t able to breast freed, or at least can’t produce enough milk to sustain their newborns. Using technology similar to that used to make lab-grown meat, a biotech startup is developing cell-based breast milk for individual women. In the coming years, the technology could offer mothers and babies a potentially better alternative to formula.

Dr. Joe Mercola, champion of all things alternative health and vocal vaccine critic, has been very active over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside Organic Consumers’ Association founder Ronnie Cummins, the physician-turned-supplement salesman has authored a book alleging that SARS-COV-2 is an engineered bioweapon the elites have used to expand their global influence. What’s wrong this story? Almost everything. The bigger problem, however, is that figures like Mercola distract people from real problems that need to be addressed before the next pandemic comes along.

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The first COVID vaccines were developed in a matter of weeks, thanks to mRNA-based technology that allowed scientists to target the SARS-COV-2 spike protein. Using its genetic blueprint, scientists engineered shots that train our immune systems to recognize the spike protein and mount a defense should we ever come in contact with the virus itself. The mRNA platform could yield all sorts of therapies and vaccines for a variety of diseases.

Kevin M. Folta is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. Follow Professor Folta on Twitter @kevinfolta

Cameron J. English is the director of bio-sciences at the American Council on Science and Health. Follow him on Twitter @camjenglish

Related article:  'Public Panic Pandemic': How our reaction to the coronavirus makes things worse than they should be
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