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: Team discovers first evidence of milk consumption in ancient dental plaque

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rosetta's comet: In the shadow of the coma

2 hours ago

This NAVCAM mosaic comprises four individual images taken on 20 November from a distance of 30.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/C-G. The image resolution is 2.6 m/pixel, so each original 1024 x 1024 pixel ...

Nanomaterials to preserve ancient works of art

3 hours ago

Little would we know about history if it weren't for books and works of art. But as time goes by, conserving this evidence of the past is becoming more and more of a struggle. Could this all change thanks ...

Shedding light on solar power

3 hours ago

Everyone wants to save energy, but not everyone knows where to start. Grid Resources, a startup based out of the Centre for Urban Energy's iCUE incubator, is developing a new website that seeks to help homeowners ...

Recommended for you

Golden Ratio offers unity of science

5 hours ago

It is said to represent a "cosmic constant" found in the curvature of elephant tusks, the shape of a kudu's horn, the destructive beauty of Hurricane Katrina, and in the astronomical grandeur of how planets, ...

Consumer sentiment brightens holiday spending

7 hours ago

Consumer confidence posted its fourth consecutive monthly gain in November, rising to its highest level since July 2007, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

Woolly mammoth skeleton sold at UK auction

22 hours ago

The skeleton of an Ice Age woolly mammoth fetched £189,000 ($300,000, 239.000 euros) at auction Wednesday as it went under the hammer in Britain with a host of other rare or extinct species.

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.