BAT Vaccine May Start Clinical Trials Soon

    Tobacco companies have joined the race to develop a vaccine against Covid-19
    Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

    British American Tobacco’s (BAT) experimental Covid-19 vaccine may start clinical trials within weeks, reports Bloomberg, citing BAT Chief Marketing Officer Kingsley Wheaton.

    The maker of Lucky Strike cigarettes said it expects a response from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) any day now.

    Kingsley Wheaton

    “We’re optimistic,” Wheaton said. “It’s an important part of our strategy to try and build a better tomorrow.”

    In April BAT announced it was developing a Covid-19 vaccine from tobacco leaves and could produce 1 million to 3 million doses per week if it got the support of government agencies and the right manufacturers.

    Earlier this year, BAT submitted a pre-investigative new drug application to the FDA. It is also talking with other government agencies about the vaccine.

    Multiple companies from a variety of sectors have been racing to develop a vaccine for Covid-19, with some of the vaccines already in human trials. Experts have suggested that a Covid-19 vaccine could take 12-18 months to develop.

    BAT said it has committed funds to conduct clinical trials. The company has reportedly also invested in additional equipment to boost capacity. The company’s investment in a Covid-19 vaccine were covered in-depth in Tobacco Reporter’s June issue.

    Medicago, a biotechnology company partly owned by Philip Morris International, is also developing a plant-based vaccine that could be available in the first half of 2021.

    There are 24 vaccine candidates in clinical trials, though nine out of 10 such programs typically fail during trials, according to the World Health Organization.