Tobacco may have a redeeming quality after all…as a tool for fighting West Nile virus.
[S]cientists introduced a gene that produces monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) — proteins derived from cloned immune cells that fight off disease — into a “deconstructed” plant virus vector. Then, they introduced the vector into the tobacco plants. … During this period, the virus vector produces a large amount of MAbs that the researchers can then extract, after harvesting the plants.
Once extracted, the scientists injected the MAbs into mice that had already been infected with West Nile virus. The results of the study show that in 90 percent of cases, the mice evaded death — and eventually made a full recovery.
Get the rest of the West Nile story here.