Some sceintists modify the genetics of plants like tobacco, safflower and alfalfa as they grow. Medicago does not genetically alter the tobacco plants, but injects DNA into the leaves of mature plants, which produce a protein that acts as a shield against flu.
The promise of the science is that it can produce vaccines – or drugs – more quickly and cheaply than with conventional techniques. A plant in North Carolina built with $21 million in funding from the U.S. Defence Department managed to produce 10-million doses of flu vaccine in a “rapid-fire” trial recently,
A vaccine against the H5N1 bird flu – which first raised concerns about a pandemic – could be on the market by 2013, a seasonal flu vaccine a few years after that.
Now they just need a market pandemic for their product. The tobacco industry is the master of PR and marketing, so this shouldn't be hard to do, especially with the assistance of the US Defense Department. Too bad if the coming pandemic turns out to be a bust for vaccine business like the H1N1 was.
Edited by Mirzam - 9/27/12 at 12:28pm