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Tobacco Plants Yield First Vaccine For The Dreaded 'Cruise Ship Virus'

Scientists have used a new vaccine production technology to develop a vaccine for norovirus, a dreaded cause of diarrhea and vomiting that may be the second most common viral infection in the United States after the flu. Sometimes called the "cruise ship virus," this microbe can spread like wildfire through passenger liners, schools, offices and military bases.

The new vaccine is unique in its origin — it was "manufactured" in a tobacco plant using an engineered plant virus. Researchers are enlisting plants in the battle against norovirus, swine flu, bird flu, and other leading infectious diseases. This plant biotechnology opens the door to more efficient, inexpensive ways to bring vaccines quickly to the public, especially critical in times when viruses mutate into unpredictable new strains, said Charles Arntzen, Ph.D., who reported on the topic today at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
 
 

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