Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Protalix shares jump on report of possible Ebola drug technology

07 September 2014, 15:59

Jerusalem - Shares in Israeli biotech company Protalix jumped on Sunday following a news report that its technology could be used to develop an Ebola treatment similar to the experimental drug ZMapp, which has shown promising results in recent trials.

Israel's Channel 2 television reported on Saturday that Protalix's facility in northern Israel is one of the only places in the world with the technology to mass produce a medicine like ZMapp, which uses antibodies from tobacco plants.

Protalix stock was up 10 percent to 10.07 shekels in Tel Aviv by early afternoon, having risen as much as 18 percent earlier. The company's chief executive told Reuters that while future collaboration with the manufacturer of ZMapp was possible, it was still purely theoretical.

Also Read: Nigerian hospitalized in Israel not sick with Ebola

Through last week, the stock had fallen nearly 60 percent since the start of 2013.

ZMapp, made by privately held Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc, based in San Diego, has drawn much attention this summer.

Two American aid workers who contracted Ebola in Liberia recovered after receiving ZMapp, though their physicians do not know if the drug helped. A Liberian doctor with the disease died despite being given the drug, as did a Spanish priest.

Scientists also reported last month that, in a trial, all 18 of a group of lab monkeys infected with the deadly virus recovered after being treated with ZMapp.

Also Read: Condition of US doctor with Ebola improving: wife

In the Channel 2 report, the head scientist at Protalix said the company can genetically engineer tobacco, has production capacity that exceeds its needs, and offered to produce large amounts of the Ebola drug for Mapp Biopharmaceutical in a relatively short time.

Protalix CEO David Aviezer said on Sunday Protalix's technology produces biological drugs in plant cells and it already has a Federal Drug Administration-approved drug to treat Gaucher disease.

He said the company is trying to use its technique to develop antibodies for different diseases.

Aviezer said that rather than using the entire tobacco plant, which is how ZMapp is produced, Protalix more efficiently uses just the plant cells.

"In theory, we probably could also produce the antibody used for treating Ebola in our plant cell system," he said. "Based on our technology and their technology we believe this can be done."

"We have to receive the DNA sequence of the antibody, which is a proprietary asset. It does not belong to us. We would insert it into our plant cells and then purify the antibody protein that would be made in these cells."

According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 2,000 people and infected more than 4,000 since the outbreak began in Guinea in March. The virus kills about half of those who contract it.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...