WORLD Aussie native plant to help fast tracking COVID-19 vaccine production

WORLD

Aussie native plant to help fast tracking COVID-19 vaccine production

Xinhua

16:36, April 08, 2020

84200ec348274a99be47681015b77064.jpg

File photo

SYDNEY, April 8 (Xinhua) -- An ancient tobacco plant, native to Northern and Central Australia, could hold the key to fast tracking COVID-19 vaccine production, according to local scientists.

Lead researcher, Professor Peter Waterhouse from Australia's Queensland University of Technology (QUT), told Xinhua on Wednesday that the plant holds very unique properties.

"This is a very amazing plant -- what is special about it is that it seems to have lost its defense mechanism," Waterhouse told Xinhua.

"So when you put in the DNA instructions into plants, most of them will reject it, but this plant follows the instructions and produces the protein you want."

In the past the plant has been used for a wide spectrum of vaccines and antibodies, including Ebola.

According to Waterhouse, a vast amount of vaccines produced by the plant are ready to harvest in just three to four days -- without using sophisticated animal protein growing environments as conventional vaccine production methods do.

Sensing the urgency of fighting COVID-19, Waterhouse said they would release the entire chromosome-level genome sequence of this plant to relevant researchers instead of publishing in academic journals first.

"We are now making this unpublished information available to any team working on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic," Waterhouse said.

"This will allow them to 'tweak' the genome to produce better quality vaccines and therapeutics that are tailor-made for use in humans."

Related Stories

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue