Tobacco Vaccines: How the Pentagon helped tobacco companies to profit from Ebola
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has invested $100 million in vaccines production from tobacco plants.
The companies, involved in the project, are owned by the biggest American tobacco companies – Mediacago Inc. is co-owned by Philip Morris, and Kentucky BioProcessing is a subsidiary of Reynolds American which is owned by British American Tobacco. Currently they are producing Flu and Ebola vaccines from tobacco plants.
The $100 million program Blue Angel was launched as a response to the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. Medicago being awarded $21 million to produce 10, 000 million doses of an influenza vaccine within one month.
Blue Angel program manager Dr. John Julias explains: “Although there are multiple plant species and other organisms being explored as alternative protein production platforms, the US Government has continued to make an investment in tobacco-based manufacturing.”
(Photos Credit: DARPA)
The plant-based vaccine production method works by isolating a specific antigen protein that triggers a human immune response from the targeted virus. A gene from the protein is transferred to bacteria, which is used to infect plants. The plants then start producing the protein that will be used for vaccinations.
It is not clear why the Pentagon chose to invest in vaccines produced from tobacco plants amongst all other plant species, which they explored. Medicago, co-owned by Philip Morris, paid $495,000 for lobbying the Department of Defense, the Congress and The Department of Health and Human Services for “funding to advance technology to support public health preparedness applications”. The Pentagon funded tobacco companies to develop new technology and to profit from vaccines.
Biological Experiments are war crimes
Article 8 of The Rome Statute of The International Criminal Court (ICC) defines biological experiments as war crimes. The US, however, is not a state party to the international treaty, and cannot be held accountable for its war crimes.
Author Dilyana Gaytandzhieva is a Bulgarian-based investigative journalist, specializing in covering conflicts and terrorism in Middle East and Asian conflicts, and international weapons trafficking operations.