Tobacco plants yield the first vaccine for the dreaded ‘cruise ship virus’

Think about this, something beneficial to health from the villainous tobacco plant.

Dr. Charles Arntzen

Dr. Charles Arntzen

Scientists have used a new production technology to develop a vaccine for norovirus, the unpleasant package of diarrhea and vomiting that has destroyed the costly holidays of thousands of cruise ship vacationers.

Charles Arntzen today told the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society that norovirus, the second most common viral infection in the U.S. after the flu, “can spread like wildfire through passenger liners, schools, offices and military bases.”

Arntzen, with the Biodesign Institute, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology of Arizona State University, said the new vaccine was “manufactured” in a tobacco plant using an engineered plant virus.
Researchers are enlisting plants in the battle against norovirus, swine flu, bird flu and other leading infectious diseases.

“This plant biotechnology opens the door to more efficient, inexpensive ways to bring vaccines quickly to the public, especially critical in times when viruses mutate into unpredictable new strains, said Arntzen.

Here is a link to other comments Arntzen made at the ACS conference in Washington, D.C.

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