Tobacco-Based Covid Vaccine Passes Trials

    Photo: Baiyaphytopharm

    A Thai Covid-19 vaccine produced with proteins from tobacco leaves has proved successful in animal tests, reports The Bangkok Post.

    Thiravat Hemachudha, head of the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Center, said the latest vaccine had been tested on mice and monkeys with satisfactory results and will now go through a purification process before it is tested in human trials. 

    Developed Baiyaphytopharm, the vaccine is produced by integrating the virus’ DNA into tobacco leaves. The plant responds to the DNA and produces the desired proteins about a week later. Hemachudha said the vaccine not only produces antibodies but can also stimulate T cells to produce antibodies themselves when meeting the virus. 

    Bai Ya is reportedly in talks with the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) to see if it is ready to collaborate in the purification process of the vaccine candidate. If the NVI agrees to take part, the vaccine will be ready for human trials in three months.  

    If not, a new plant will have to be built, delaying human trials by nine months. 

    After human trials, the vaccine’s manufacturing at an industrial scale would take place quickly, according to Hemachudha. He added that the tobacco leaves can grow to produce more than 10 million doses of the vaccine in one month. 

    Philip Morris International-backed Medicago and British American Tobacco are also working on tobacco-based Covid-19 vaccines.