Sopexa is continuing its work to help protect honeybees, and some good news has just come in. On 14 December, Finnish scientists announced that they had developed what they believe to be the world’s first vaccine to protect bees. With this vaccine, they hope to stem the tide of high honeybee mortality, which – if kept unchecked – could lead to a global food crisis.
Though honeybees help to pollinate over 90% of the crops that cover the planet’s farmlands, they are currently being wiped out by what is known as “Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder”. This phenomenon has multiple causes and, according to scientists, the continuously accelerating decline of honeybee colonies could cause an irreversible rise in food prices and potentially lead to shortages.
This vaccine, developed by a team of researchers at the University of Helsinki, could help to make honeybees more resistant and able to fight off microbial diseases that may potentially kill them.
“If we can save even a small part of the bee population with this invention, I think we have done our good deed and saved the world a little bit,” stated Dalial Freitak, the lead researcher on the vaccine project.
Scientists believe that diseases and viruses are only a couple of the many reasons why pollinating insects are dying off in droves. Intensive farming, which makes the insects’ food sources less diverse, is another reason. However, protecting bee populations against diseases will make them stronger and thus better equipped to withstand other threats. In addition, the European Union and Canada have voted to ban neonicotinoids, which studies have shown to be harmful to honeybee reproduction.