Tobacco companies are often known for life-saving rather than life-saving, according tomedia, which may come as a surprise when it learns that London-based British American Tobacco has been busy developing a new coronavirus vaccine. Specifically, British American Tobacco, a biotech subsidiary, Kentucky BioProcessing, believes it may have a solution to the new coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement released earlier today, the company said it was working on a vaccine that would be partly made from tobacco-related plants. Particularly interesting, the company applies various methods to plants to produce proteins that would otherwise not be produced.
The New York Times points out that the vaccine uses cloned parts of the gene sequence of the new coronavirus to make antigens and then insert them into tobacco plants for reproduction.
British American Tobacco says its vaccine is currently being tested in preclinical settings. In fact, the number of people dying from the new coronavirus is now close to 45,000, so the race to develop a vaccine is intensifying.
If their vaccine sits effective, they could produce 3 million doses a week in the future, Kentucky BioProcessing said. What’s more, the company says the vaccine it’s developing is a non-profit activity, meaning that some people who can’t afford it will also have access to it.
While the idea of tobacco companies developing vaccines may sound far-fetched, Kentucky BioProcessing has been working in the past on treatments for other viruses, such as Ebola.
The company hopes to begin a full clinical trial as soon as possible, and it has been discussing such work with relevant u.S. and European health regulators.