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Israeli researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed genetically altered tobacco plants which contain a natural compound that can fight drug-resistant malaria. Although cigarettes are known to kill millions of people every year, Professor Alexander Vainstein and his research team have found that the tobacco plant can be altered to produce “Artemisin”, an active component in malaria treatment, Israel’s 21C news site reported. The natural compound Artemisin comes from the sweet wormwood plant and can fight drug-resistant malaria, but due to its small quantities and high price, millions of people cannot get access to this remedy. However, Vainstein and his colleagues spliced the wormwood enzymes that produce Artemisin and bred tobacco plants that carry Artemisin’s genetically based code. Vainstein’s development is being marketed through the Hebrew University’s Yissum Research Development Company.
(The Ethiopian Herald)