Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Humble spice to star drug

From star anise to Tamiflu - "Cooking spice key player in bird flu battle." AFP, 01 Nov 2005 (China Daily).

Excerpt - "Star anise, the dried, star-shaped multiple fruit of a small oriental tree which is a member of the magnolia family, is a traditional ingredient of oriental cuisine with its pungent, liquorice-like flavour.

But it also has a key pharmaceutical asset - shikimic acid, described by experts as the world's only weapon against bird flu, ... a vital ingredient of Tamiflu, one of the rare anti-viral drugs that has proved effective against the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu which has infected 118 people in Asia since late 2003 and killed more than 60 people."

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