WHO Warns Against Tobacco Role in Covid-19 Vaccine

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned governments about engaging with the tobacco industry over the development of coronavirus vaccines.

British American Tobacco (BAT) announced this month that it had made a breakthrough in developing a potential plant-based vaccine candidate for Covid-19. Medicago, a biotechnology specialist based in Canada and partly owned by Philip Morris International, is also developing a vaccine for the virus.

However, the WHO says there is “a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.” What’s more, the global health body’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control restricts members in dealing with the tobacco industry.

David O’Reilly, director of scientific research at BAT, has said that the company has contacted healthcare departments to offer access to its research and plans to contact the WHO.