A POTENTIAL COVID-19 VACCINE
British American Tobacco (BAT) – the parent company of global cigarette brands Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall and Rothmans – announced yesterday that it has begun pre-clinical testing on a tobacco plant-based COVID-19. BAT’s biotech subsidiary Kentucky BioProcessing, which previously manufactured a treatment for Ebola, is in charge of the vaccine development. Although the COVID-19 vaccine is at an early stage, BAT’s leadership are optimistic:
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…Dr. David O’Reilly, Director of Scientific Research for BAT
With a streamlined testing and approval process, BAT believes it can begin producing 1 – 3 million doses of the vaccine per week beginning in June. Read the full news release HERE.
Politico reported in February on the potential for a tobacco-based COVID-19 vaccine. Various tobacco companies have pivoted to pharmaceutical development as governments around the world have increasingly taxed and restricted cigarette sales. Tobacco plants have been employed previously in developing influenza vaccines.