The worldwide scare of bird flu pandemic as increased which has lead to stockpiling of large quantities of Tamiflu, antiviral bird flu drug by many countries. U.S. has stocked more than 4 million Tamiflu drugs and many countries have started producing the generic version of the drug Tamiflu manufactured by the Swiss pharmaceuticals Roche.
AdvertisementDue to the gold rush for shikimic acid which is used for production of Tamiflu antiviral drugs, there has been a great shortage of Chinese star anise, which contains high quality pure Shikimic acid. Shikimic acid is obtained from the seeds of Star anise which is grown in the high altitudes in the mountains of Guanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou in Southwestern Chinese province. Due to shortage of Shikimic acid, Roche the manufacturer of Tamiflu is planning to use genetically bioengineered E.coli bacterium to produce shikimic acid by fermentation method. Fermentation procedures uses cheap carbohydrate source which will be used by the bioengineered E.coli as a substrate for production of high quality Shikimic acid.