GM Tobacco Plant to Fight Malaria

by Sheela Philomena on Feb 15 2012 10:38 AM

 GM Tobacco Plant to Fight Malaria
Israeli scientists have developed a genetically modified tobacco plant that can fight drug-resistant malaria.
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found that tobacco plant can be altered to produce "artemisin", an active component in malaria treatment.

Artemisin, a natural compound that comes from the sweet wormwood plant, can fight drug-resistant malaria, but due to its small quantities and high price, millions of people cannot get access to this remedy, the researchers said.

However, Alexander Vainstein and his colleagues developed a tobacco plant that carry artemisin's genetical code, Xinhua reported quoting Israel's 21C news website Sunday.

About half a billion people suffer from malaria each year in Africa and East Asia, with a child dying every 30 seconds of this disease. Most of them have no means to purchase medicines to treat the illness.