Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Kentucky Biotech: Creating the Ebola-Curing Serum

OK, just a part of it.  But still.  Fuck you, Big Coal; this is Kentucky's future.

Laura Ungar at the Courier:

Owensboro-based Kentucky BioProcessing used local tobacco to help produce an experimental serum to fight Ebola, which may help save two American aid workers stricken with the deadly disease.

David Howard, a spokesman for Reynolds American Services, said the Owensboro company complied with a request from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and Samaritan's Purse this week "to provide a limited amount" of the compound, called ZMapp.


Howard couldn't confirm that the compound was used on the aid workers, and Emory officials didn't respond by deadline to a call or email seeking confirmation. But the Associated Press, CNN and other media outlets reported that the aid workers have gotten the serum and have improved.

The fact that a Kentucky company focused on plant-based science played a part "is fantastic," said Kenneth Palmer, a University of Lousville professor who is involved in tobacco-based research in Owensboro but not in this project. "The more that (medicines) made in plants are used, the better the acceptance. ... It gives tangible evidence of how what we do can be applied to help people."
All my life I've been hearing about and laughing at the insistence of Kentucky researchers that tobacco has scientific uses beyond killing people slowly and torturously. The Commonwealth has sunk untold millions of dollars into the tobacco research unit at UK since the '70s.

If they finally succeeded, and succeeded in a way that ends the scourge of Ebola in Africa, I will gladly admit I was wrong.

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