ASU lab uses method to quickly replicate Ebola treatment - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

ASU lab uses method to quickly replicate Ebola treatment

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TEMPE, Ariz. - Nancy Writebol, one of two doctors diagnosed as having the ebola virus, were rushed into Atlanta's Emory University Hospital Tuesday near the CDC's HQ.

Both she and Dr. Brantly who arrived over the weekend are currently in isolation. They're being treated with an experimental new drug that has a strong connection to the valley.

Tobacco leaves are grown in a special grow-room in a laboratory at ASU's bio design institute. ASU scientists are specialists in using plants to jump-start the production of lifesaving drugs, in this case a treatment for the deadly Ebola virus.

"In a sense what we are doing is injecting the genes for the antibodies into the tobacco, and the tobacco manufactures the antibodies. The same antibodies we would make if we were vaccinated, but they are made in the tobacco," said Dr. Charles Arntzen.

The medicine was extracted from the tobacco leaves at a small bioprocessing company in Kentucky. Vials of what looked like water were flown to Africa and put in the IV's of doctors there exposed to Ebola.

"The one doctor within an hour was showing recovery, he looked like he was on his way out prior to getting this antibody mixture," said Arntzen.

ASU's role makes Dr. Arntzen feel happy. "This is fortuitous, and more importantly it works, it works, it is wonderful, I am just delighted," he said.
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