Ebola virus – Tobacco plant may be key to ebola drugs

Ebola disease is a serious illness caused by virus and is often fatalin human beings. The virus is transmitted to human beings by wild animals and spreads in people from person to person. The outbreak for this disease occurred in the remote villages of Central Africa near the tropical rainforests. but the recent outbreak this year in west Africa involved a number of urban as well as rural areas. It is the most complex Ebola outbreak and there have been many more cases of death than before. There has been no proper treatment for Ebola disease and the range of treatments like drugs, blood products and immune treatments are still being evaluated. There is no licensed vaccine but there are two potential vaccines being tested for the safety of human beings.

An experimental serum called ZMapp, procured from antibodies harvested in mice was responsibleto a certain extent for the patients’ recovery, but demand for the drug became very high and the drug was very costly and time consuming. Lately there is a search for more experimental drugs for the treatment of Ebola virus. But it stills a great cause of concern for people of Africa where it is spreading like an epidemic.

We knew that tobacco is not good for health. Rather, using tobacco for smoking can lead to variety of complications to individuals. But, you may not know that tobacco plant also have some positive elements. It is also used by many pharmaceutical companies. Are the pharmaceutical companies dealing with such tobacco rich drug really making a healthy attempt?  Are the drugs made by the extract of tobacco really worth in treating various diseases? Some of the companies claim to have manufactured such drugs that has treated Ebola virus. But the Food and Drug Administration has still not approved such drugs.

Tobacco the key to ebola

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Researchers and pharmaceutical companies in the world of health and medicine feel that tobacco plants may hold the key in manufacturing vaccines and drugs required for Ebola virus. It is believed that tobacco plants can produce antibodies at low cost and in less time.

Developing drugs from tobacco plant will be a new concept and it may change the scenario of Africa where this deadly Ebola disease is rapidly spreading through West Africa and has killed number of people.

Uses of tobacco plant

  • The first biopharmaceutical company in Owensboro is engaged in the task of developing ZMapp serum through tobacco plants in collaboration with a couple of other companies. These companies have already been working on increasing the quantity and reducing the cost of some cancer drugs tobacco.
  • The process of making drugs from tobacco plants begins by cloning a gene and inserting it in a virus. This infected gene is then injected into the tobacco plant where it multiplies within the leaves. It is then extracted and purified. It is believed that a tobacco plant can produce antibodies that can make a large number of doses. It is easy to maintain the tobacco plants in controlled environments like greenhouses.
  • A biopharmaceutical company in North Carolina has the capacity to produce 10 million fluvaccines by using tobacco plants andclays to produce many more at a low cost.
  • Drugs to reduce the growth of breast cancer tumours are also made by using tobacco plants. This drug is produced by creating antibodies in the mammalian cells extracted from the ovaries of hamsters
  • Nicotine benthamiana is a relative of tobacco that is used to develop a number of vaccines from cervical cancer to cholera. This process involves the separating a protein found in the red algae. This protein kills of HIV by sticking to outer surface of a HIV infected cell protecting uninfected cells from the virus. The virus is then injected into the tobacco plant and extracted after 10-12 days. This extract is crushed, purified and mixed into a gel to be used as a lubricant.
  • Several millions have been granted to produce a drug for the prevention of HIV by producing a gel from crushed tobacco leaves.
  • This gel is also found to be effective as a condom by a senior scientist Palmer who belongs to Zimbabwe.

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Palmer has been studying plant-based pharmaceuticals since 1997. He also studied the results of using corn to develop drugs. There have been lot of drawbacks in the development of plant-bases drugs; hence most plant based pharmaceutical companies have not been approved by FDA. So far three is only one pharmaceutical company that has been approved by FDA. It develops a medicine produced through an enzyme from carrot cells for the treatment of Gautier’s disease which is a genetic disorder that restricts the proper functioningof cells and organs.

Palmer does not go against the FDA for restricting approval to pharmaceutical companies but admits that as compared to other technologies to make drugs bio pharming is relatively a new method. He feels that the success of developing Zmapp will be a great movement in the drug industry. The demand for the drug from West Africa can help to bring out this technology as a good option.

Control and prevention of ebola in west africa

In the meantime control of the deadly epidemic in Africa relies in case management, good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization. An effective way to reduce human transmission.to the disease is by raising awareness of risk factors for Ebola infection and protective measures that people can take themselves. These can be done by the following factors,

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  • Reducing the risk of wildlife-to-human transmission from contactwith infected fruit bats or monkeys and by eating their raw meat. Animals should be handled with gloves and other appropriate protective clothing.
  • Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission from direct contact with people with Ebola symptoms… Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill patients at home or in the hospital.
  • Outbreak containment measuresinclude immediate and safe burial of the dead, identifying people who may have been in contact with someone infected with Ebola the, importance of isolating the healthy from the sick to prevent further spreading, the importance of good hygiene and maintaining a clean environment.
  • Health-care workers looking after patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus should apply extra infection control measures to prevent the spreading of the disease. The patient’s blood and body fluids and contaminated surfaces or materials such as clothing and bedding should be washed and disinfected daily.
  • People close to an infected patient must wear medical masks and goggles, a clean gown and sterile gloves while handling the patient directly.

Growth of ebola drug

The growth of the Ebola drug is also quite important to note. The Ebola infected workers was brought back from the death’s bed with the help of this Ebola drug.  The tobacco plant was grown in not only the acres of field, rather they are grown in a different environment. Yes, the green house is used in this connection for as long as six weeks. Once it has grown enough with the leaves, the plant bacterium is injected in it. Thus, the formation becomes absolutely different. Thus, the antibody is formed which helps in neutralizing the Ebola virus. You must have known about it in any of the books and journals.

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Genetically modified plant

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People dealing with botany or have degree on the particular subject are very well aware of such a genetically modified plant. Tobacco is such a plant that has been used to develop vaccination for flue. GMO medicine is spoken in this situation where with the help of it man deadly diseases have come to an end. Genetically modified plants are also one among the plants that is combined with other plant extract to make a wonderful plant variation. Those plants does magic at some places.

You must have heard about the Ebola virus which is really difficult to be cured. In some cases it can also lead to wider complications. But, the genetically modified plant works really well to remove Ebola virus. Yes, the tobacco plant is also used to combine with other plant to get genetically modified variation.