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Tobacco giant Philip Morris plans plant flu vaccine for China

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

http://business.financialpost.com/2012/09/25/tobacco-giant-philip-morris-plans-plant-flu-vaccine-for-china/ 

 

 

 

 

Quote:

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
post #2 of 6
Interesting spin. NC has long been tobacco country, and this is a way for tobacco farmers to earn a living with the decline of that industry.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosaic View Post

Interesting spin. NC has long been tobacco country, and this is a way for tobacco farmers to earn a living with the decline of that industry.

 

I didn't see much in the way of spin in the article. Is there not tobacco grown for smoking and tobacco grown for pharmaceuticals - ie vaccine production? I just noticed that the link didn't work, so maybe you weren't able to read the whole article?

 

http://business.financialpost.com/2012/09/25/tobacco-giant-philip-morris-plans-plant-flu-vaccine-for-china/ - this link worked for me.

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirzam View Post

Hopefully, the coming pandemic won't turn out to be a bust like the H1N1 was.

 

You hope there's a major flu epidemic? Have you read about the 1918 flu pandemic? Estimates suggest 3% of the worlds population died in that epidemic - and it effected healthy young people more than flu usually does. In today's numbers that's 210 million people - more than half the population of the US... 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic 

 

Coming back to the modern age, there are suggestions that the vaccination programme initiated by H1N1 helped prevent it turn into the major pandemic originally feared. 

 

 OK so tobacco companies getting involved in vaccines sounds a bit worrying I'll admit, but if the overall result is saving lives then maybe it's OK. 

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prosciencemum View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirzam View Post

Hopefully, the coming pandemic won't turn out to be a bust like the H1N1 was.

 

You hope there's a major flu epidemic? Have you read about the 1918 flu pandemic? Estimates suggest 3% of the worlds population died in that epidemic - and it effected healthy young people more than flu usually does. In today's numbers that's 210 million people - more than half the population of the US... 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic 

 

Coming back to the modern age, there are suggestions that the vaccination programme initiated by H1N1 helped prevent it turn into the major pandemic originally feared. 

 

 OK so tobacco companies getting involved in vaccines sounds a bit worrying I'll admit, but if the overall result is saving lives then maybe it's OK. 

No of course I don't! I meant to go back and edit it, but my computer froze on me.

 

There's quite a bit more to the 1918 flu pandemic than your wiki link. 

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirzam View Post

 

There's quite a bit more to the 1918 flu pandemic than your wiki link. 

 

Sure. Obviously I just mean that as a starting point. Information on the internet never tells the whole story, particularly as there's often little in the way of quality control. 

 

Sorry I jumped the gun on the comment! ;) Still it holds that being prepared for possible future flu pandemics to prevent another 1918 is a good idea (in my opinion). 

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