Are these genetically engineered cows the future of medicine?

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They look like normal black-and-white Holstein cows, a common sight in Western Iowa. But these cows are special: used not for their milk or meat, but for their blood. They’re plasma donors, and one day, the life they save may be your own.

The cows were genetically engineered by biotech company SAB Biotherapeutics to produce human antibodies, proteins that fight pathogens. These antibodies could one day treat infectious diseases like Ebola, influenza, and Zika — and their potential to address global outbreaks was recognized this summer by the World Health Organization.

SAB’s cattle are just the latest example of lab-made animals engineered to be drug factories. Last year, the US Food…

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