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Old Christmas Trees to be used to make Avian Bird Flu Vaccine

December 26th, 2005

Old Christmas Trees to be used to make Avian Bird Flu Vaccine

Discarded Christmas tree

A Canadian company, Biolyse Pharma Corp., have plans to use up to half a million used Christmas trees in Ontario to extract a chemical found in the needles to help manufacturer vaccine for the bird flu. Shikimic acid can be harvested from the needles of pine, spruce and fir trees.  The acid is usually harvested from the star anise tree in China. 

The cost of the acid has increased in cost dramatically and cost $600 Canadian dollars per kilogram.  The reason for the increase in cost has been the time it takes to grow the star anise tree.  It can take eight years to grow and there are only two months are able to be harvested.  The goal of Biolyse will be to sell the acid to companies or governments that do not have to follow the Roche’s Tamiflu patents and can manufacturer a generic version of the drug. 


Biolyse has also found substitute sources for a cancer drug paclitaxel. Instead of extracting the chemical from a rare Pacific yew bush, they found a common yew bush in Canada that had the same chemical.  They did get sued for patent infringement but they won the case.

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer



Keywords and common misspellings: Tamyflu vaccination tamilflu generic version of Tamiflu Shikimic acid shickmic

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:46 PM