BAT in process of developing coronavirus vaccine
Noel Wandera @NoelWandera5
BAT’s American bio-tech subsidiary, 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 one and three million doses of the vaccine could be manufactured per week, beginning in June.
While KBP remains a commercial operation, the intention is that its work around the Covid-19 vaccine project will be carried out on a not for profit basis.
The vaccine in development uses BAT’s proprietary, fast-growing tobacco plant technology which has several advantages over conventional vaccine production technology.
In a statement to global media houses, David O’Reilly, the US-based firm director of scientific research said the vaccine is potentially safer since tobacco plants do not host pathogens, which cause human disease.
O’Reilly said the potential vaccine is faster because the elements accumulate in tobacco plants much more quickly—six weeks in tobacco plants versus several months using conventional methods.
“We are engaged with the US Food and Drug Administration and are seeking guidance on next steps.
We have also engaged with the UK’s Department for Health and Social Care, and Barda in the US, to offer our support and access to our research with the aim of trying to expedite the development of a vaccine for Covid-19,” said O’Reilly.