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Ebola puts focus on tobacco plant drugs

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NEW YORK — It’s an eye-catching angle in the story of an experimental treatment for Ebola: The drug comes from tobacco plants that were turned into living pharmaceutical factories.

Using plants this way — sometimes called “pharming” — can produce complex and valuable proteins for medicines. That approach, studied for about 20 years, hasn’t caught on widely in the pharmaceutical industry.

But some companies and academic labs are pursuing it to create medicines and vaccines against such targets as HIV,…

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