British American Tobacco (BAT) has announced it is now ready to test its potential coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on humans, after the vaccine generated a positive immune response in pre-clinical trials.
The move follows an announcement made by the company in April that it is developing a coronavirus vaccine from tobacco leaves.
BAT is awaiting FDA approval for the vaccine, and, if it gets the support of government agencies and the right manufacturers, it could produce 1 to 3 million doses per week. On approval, it would progress to Phase 1 trials or testing on humans.
BAT said it has submitted a pre-investigative new drug application to the FDA, and that the agency had acknowledged the submission. The tobacco manufacturer believes that they could start as early as late June, pending the response from the relevant health bodies. The company has also invested in additional equipment to boost their manufacturing capabilities should they be needed.
BAT said it has taken part in discussions with other government agencies around the world about the vaccine, and have contributed in several ways to support nations facing the coronavirus pandemic.
British American Tobacco Chief Executive, Jack Bowles, recently said, “The company has provided support either through loaning R&D equipment and expertise, donating funds and utilising our distribution networks to ensure that medical and hygiene equipment reaches vulnerable communities. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, the type of support required globally, and in the communities where we operate, will undoubtedly change. BAT’s support around the world will flex and evolve, responding to the ever-changing needs that this crisis creates.”