May 17, 2020

Trials begin for GM manufactured anti-HIV drug

2 min
Tobacco farm
A newly developed anti-HIV drug, which has been manufactured using genetically modified (GM) tobacco plants, is undergoing safety trials after receivin...

A newly developed anti-HIV drug, which has been manufactured using genetically modified (GM) tobacco plants, is undergoing safety trials after receiving approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).

A small group of women in the UK have now been given the drug to test its safety and the developers are hoping it will prove to be effective in preventing the HIV infection.

It is also hoped that the antibody, known currently as P2G12, will eventually be offered in developing countries as an effective yet cheap and modern HIV medication.


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The development of the drug is part of the major Pharma-Planta project which was launched in 2004 and funded by the European Commission.

It was designed to try to find a way of developing hard-to-produce pharmaceutical proteins in GM plants to reduce the cost of drugs and medications.

The aim is to ultimately increase the accessibility of the drugs, which are highly effective, to third world countries across the world.

It is estimated this process of drug manufacturing is between 10 and 100 times cheaper than more conventional methods.

Professor Julian Ma, who is one of the coordinators of the Pharma-Planta project, said in an interview: “The driver was to produce these medicines economically and at a level that would satisfy global demand.”

“The approval from the MHRA for us to proceed with human trials is an acknowledgement that monoclonal antibodies can be made in plants to the same quality as those made using existing conventional production systems,” Ma added.

“That is something many people did not believe could be achieved.”

Eleven women are currently taking part in the trial, which is being undertaken to test the safety of the antibody when it is prescribed at different doses. 

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May 24, 2021

Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know

2 min
We take a look at Schneider Electric's new smart patient room. 

Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly? 

Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution. 

What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room. 

The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place.  A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff. 

All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”

Why:  Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.” 

“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”

Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.  

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