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Meet Diego Orsaez, Senior Scientist IBMCP, CSIC Valencia

How fast can plants go?
Meet Diego Orzáez, as he talks about fast-response production for epidemics and why plants are the future of Pharma.

Dr Diego Orzáez is a Research Scientist at Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP) which is jointly run by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and University of Valencia, and co-leads the Plant Genomic and Biotechnology Group.

One of the really exciting aspects to Plant Molecular Farming is the speed with which it can produce proteins: the active ingredients in many diagnostic tests, vaccines and therapies. For epidemic diseases like Flu, Covid and Ebola which need rapid response drugs, plants can be a powerful ally.

When the COVID pandemic took hold in Spring 2020, Much of the work on Pharma Factory was diverted to supporting COVID-related research. Diego and his team at the Plant Genomic and Biotechnology Group took the opportunity to look at the possibility of a fast-response COVID vaccination factory using PMF technology.

In this short video clip, Diego talks about how the team responded to the challenges presented by COVID “taking turns and working in very pressing conditions”:

“It was a genuine teamwork and I hope that what we learned in those days can at a certain point be reflected into a fast-response system based on plants”

Diego’s team was not only developing concepts for this pandemic but for future pandemics, to avoid some of the supply issues that emerged during COVID, and which continue to be challenging in many parts of the world.

“In the future if we want to manufacture the bio-products that the world needs at a medium or large-scale, and we want to do it in a sustainable manner, we will need to use photosynthetic organisms.”

To find out more, look out for the Pharma Factory exhibition launching in October at Norwich Science Festival and Fête de la Science, Rouen, and online.       
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 774078.

Pharma Factory copyright 2018

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