Biotech Updates

New HIV Drug from GM tobacco Plants Under Clinical Trial

August 26, 2011

An antiviral preventative P2G21 antibody drug synthesized by GM tobacco is being tested in the United Kingdom to establish its safety for humans. The first phase of the trial is being carried out by the EU-funded PHARMA-PLANTA (Recombinant Pharmaceuticals from Plants for Human Health') consortium which started in June and involves 11 healthy women. Results of the trials will be released in October which could open possibilities for affordable HIV treatments especially in the world's poorest countries.

Plants have been used  to produce recombinant pharmaceutical protein, such as human insulin and hepatitis B vaccine. In this study, the developed antibody recognizes proteins on the surface of the HIV that block the infection. The manufactured drug used was processed from genetically modified tobacco at a ratio of 250 kg tobacco to 5 grams of purified antibody.

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