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The endeavor of drug makers to produce a bio technology medicine from genetically modified tobacco plant is believed to help develop a cheap and effective treatment for Ebola virus. This wise biotechnology treatment which holds a promise to treat Ebola in a fast and effective was is gaining popularity across the world.
The treatment, which had been tested only in infected animals in laboratory, was given to two US medical professionals in Liberia. In case of this new Ebola treatment, experimental ZMapp drug, produced by Map Biopharmaceuticals, was given to two US medical professionals.
The two infected medical workers, Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, received an experimental treatment containing the antibodies which could fight Ebola in Liberia last week. The good news is that after receiving doses of the drug, both the patients have shown improvement.
Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, both of the patients received at least one dose of ZMapp in Liberia before coming to the US.
The antibodies were produced in tobacco plants at Kentucky Bioprocessing, a unit of tobacco giant Reynolds American. The bio engineered tobacco-plant which produce produced monoclonal antibodies have been dubbed as “plantibodies.”
If this effort of scientists confirms the effectiveness of the treatment, developing antibodies with tobacco plans could become a very cost effective and easy way to fight deadly Ebola virus.
“Tobacco makes for a good vehicle to express the antibodies because it is inexpensive and it can produce a lot,” said Erica Ollmann Saphire, a professor at The Scripps Research Institute and a prominent researcher in viral hemorrhagic fever diseases like Ebola.
Growing antibodies in plants is safer than in mammals, because “plants are so far removed, so if they had some sort of plant virus we wouldn’t get sick because viruses are host-specific,” said Qiang Chen, a plant biologist at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.