Yuletide trees may help fight bird flu

Jan 09, 2006

A Canadian drug maker has found a new use for discarded Christmas trees -- fighting bird flu in humans.

Biolyse Pharma Corp., in St. Catharines, Ontario, extracts shikimic acid from the pine, spruce and fir needles. The chemical is a main ingredient in the production of the flu drug oseltamivir, or Tamiflu, the Buffalo (N.Y.) News reported Sunday.

Tamiflu is being stockpiled by many countries in the event the bird flu mutates and can be transmitted from human to human.

The chemical is extracted mostly from the star anise tree in China, but the supply is limited -- and the price has risen from $45 a kilogram to $600 over the past year, said John Fulton, a vice president with Biolyse.

"What makes (Biolyse's) process more viable is the fact that the particular species of pine and spruce and fir that we are working with are far more abundant than the seedlings of star anise," Fulton said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: John Nash, wife, 'A Beautiful Mind' inspiration, die in NJ

Related Stories

Birds 'weigh' peanuts and choose heavier ones

25 minutes ago

Many animals feed on seeds, acorns or nuts. The common feature of these are that they have shells and there is no direct way to know what's inside. How do the animals know how much and what quality of food ...

Q&A: Why are antibiotics used in livestock?

15 hours ago

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, is the latest company to ask its suppliers to curb the use of antibiotics in farm animals. Here's a rundown of what's driving the decision: ...

Recommended for you

Top UK scientists warn against EU exit

May 22, 2015

A group of leading British scientists including Nobel-winning geneticist Paul Nurse warned leaving the European Union could threaten research funding, in a letter published in The Times newspaper on Friday.

How we discovered the three revolutions of American pop

May 22, 2015

Dr Matthias Mauch discusses his recent scientific analysis of the "fossil record" of the Billboard charts prompted widespread attention, particularly the findings about the three musical "revolutions" that shaped the musical la ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.