British American Tobacco (BAT), has claimed that it is ready to test its potential COVID-19 vaccine on humans after it generated a positive immune response in pre-clinical trials. The leading cigarette company has made the vaccine using protein from tobacco leaves. In April, BAT announced that its biotech subsidiary, Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP), was developing a potential vaccine for coronavirus.
The Lucky Strike cigarette-maker also said it could produce 1 million to 3 million doses per week if it got the support of the government.
BAT has said that once it gets approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the vaccine, it would progress to Phase 1 trials or testing on humans.
"The vaccine candidate is now poised to progress to the next stage which will be Phase 1 human clinical trials pending FDA authorisation," BAT said on its website.
London-based BAT added it has committed funds to conduct clinical trials, which it expects to start as early as late June, and invested in additional equipment to boost capacity.
Drugmakers across the globe have been racing to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, caused by coronavirus, with some of the vaccines already in human trials. Experts have suggested that a COVID-19 vaccine could take 12-18 months to develop.
(With Reuters inputs)