London: Tobacco plants are being used to create a drug, which will help combat HIV.
UK regulators have approved the first clinical trial of specially designed antibodies that
stop the virus passing from person to person.
At the University of Surrey Clinical Research Centre, eleven women will be treated with the topical treatment, which has been created from genetically modified tobacco plants.
It is believed that the antibodies will reduce the risk of treated women from catching the disease.
“This is a red letter day for the field,” the Daily Mail quoted project researcher Professor Julian Ma, at St George’s, University of London, as saying.
“The approval from the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency)for us to proceed with human trials is an acknowledgement that monoclonal antibodies can be made in plants to the same quality as those made using existing conventional production systems.
“That is something many people did not believe could be achieved,” he added.
The genetically modified tobacco plants producing antibody called P2G12 were grown in containment greenhouses at the Fraunhofer Institute in Aachen, Germany.