BAT starts clinical trials for potential coronavirus vaccine

Apr 1, 2020 9:50 PM ET

British American Tobacco (BAT) have become the latest firm to offer hope of a coronavirus vaccine as they have revealed a breakthrough with its tobacco plant technology.

BAT said the vaccine is now in pre-clinical testing, which has the potential to offer a safe and faster way to develop vaccines.

The vaccine is being tested by their US firm Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP) using tobacco plant technology.

BAT said if they are successful and with the “right partners and support from government agencies” it could manufacture between 1m and 3m doses a week.

Dr David O’Reilly, director of scientific research at BAT said, “Vaccine development is challenging and complex work, but we believe we have made a significant breakthrough with our tobacco plant technology platform and stand ready to work with governments and all stakeholders to help win the war against Covid-19.

“We fully align with the United Nations plea, for a whole-of-society approach to combat global problems.”

The company said KBP, which was bought by its US subsidiary Reynolds American Inc in 2014, have been looking at alternative uses of tobacco plants for some time, including plant-based vaccines.

They were one of the few companies that helped develop an effective treatment for Ebola in 2014.

The company said they will develop the coronavirus vaccine on a not-for-profit bases.

Dr O’Reilly added, “We are committed to contributing to the global effort to halt the spread of Covid-19 using this technology.”

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