British American Tobacco poised to begin late June trials for COVID-19 vaccine derived from tobacco plants

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Credit: Mathieu Belanger/Reuters

An experimental Covid-19 vaccine developed by cigarette maker British American Tobacco Plc is poised to begin testing in humans.

Pre-clinical tests of the vaccine showed a positive immune response, the London-based maker of Lucky Strike cigarettes said [May 15] in a statement. The first phase of human trials could begin as soon as late June if authorized by drug regulators, BAT said.

BAT subsidiary Kentucky BioProcessing uses tobacco plants in making the experimental vaccine, which is derived from the genetic sequence of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid. According to BAT, the method generates the vaccine faster than conventional approaches, reducing the time required from several months to about six weeks.

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