U.S. Markets closed
1 / 13

Tobacco Plants Prove Useful in Ebola Drug Production

A unique variety of tobacco seedlings emerge in the greenhouse at Medicago USA, Inc. in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Through its plant-based technology, the facility is capable of producing millions of doses of vaccines.

A Look at the Production of Ebola Drug


It's an eye-catching angle in the story of an experimental treatment for Ebola: The drug comes from tobacco plants that were turned into living pharmaceutical factories.

Using plants this way - sometimes called "pharming" -- can produce complex and valuable proteins for medicines. That approach, studied for about 20 years, hasn't caught on widely in the pharmaceutical industry.

But some companies and academic labs are pursuing it to create medicines and vaccines against such targets as HIV, cancer, the deadly Marburg virus and norovirus, known for causing outbreaks of stomach bug on cruise ships, as well as Ebola.
Related Stories


Reporting by Malcolm Ritter, The Associated Press.