ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC)’ parent organisation- British American Tobacco (BAT)- is in the process of preparing potential COVID-19 Vaccine through tobacco plants.
A communiqué states that the BAT’s US bio-tech subsidiary, the Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP), is developing a potential vaccine for COVID-19 and is now in pre-clinical testing.
If testing goes well, BAT is hopeful that, with the right partners and support from government agencies, between 1 and 3 million doses of the vaccine could be manufactured per week, beginning in June.
The vaccine in development uses BAT’s proprietary, fast-growing tobacco plant technology which has several advantages over conventional vaccine production technology such as it is potentially safer given that tobacco plants can’t host pathogens which cause human disease, in addition to this, it is faster because the elements of the vaccine accumulate in tobacco plants much more quickly.
Besides, the vaccine formulation KBP is developing remains stable at room temperature, unlike conventional vaccines, which often require refrigeration. It has the potential to deliver an effective immune response in a single dose.
Dr David O’Reilly, Director of Scientific Research BAT said: “The vaccine development is challenging and complex work, but we believe we have made a significant break-through with our tobacco plant technology platform and stand ready to work with Governments and all stakeholders to help win the war against COVID-19.”
In 2014, KBP made headlines as one of the few companies with an effective treatment for Ebola, having manufactured ZMapp™ with California-based Company MappBio Pharmaceuticals in partnership with the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).