The world’s second biggest cigarette maker claims to have made a “significant breakthrough” in the race to finding a vaccine for the coronavirus, and would be ready to start mass production within three months.
British American Tobacco, BAT, the FTSE 100 company behind Lucky Strike and Dunhill, said that it could be producing up to 3 million doses of the vaccine in a week, by June, far faster than rivals, which are expecting to take at least a year.
BAT intends to start trialling its vaccine in humans, as soon as possible. It is running pre-clinical tests and holding urgent talks with the United States, US, drug authorities, to fast-track permissions.
The treatment is being developed by the company’s Health Division, Kentucky Bio-Processing, KBP, which had previously come up with a drug to combat Ebola.
It claims to have found an anti-body that appears to fight Covid-19, and is manufacturing this, using genetically modified tobacco plants.