British American Tobacco, the maker of Dunhill and Lucky Strike cigarettes, has said that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Phase I human study.
The world's second-largest cigarette company had earlier this year said it was working on a COVID-19 vaccine using proteins extracted from tobacco leaves.
The company said the enrolment for the study is expected to begin shortly.
“Moving into human trials with both our COVID-19 and seasonal flu vaccine candidates is a significant milestone and reflects our considerable efforts to accelerate the development of our emerging biologicals portfolio," commented Dr David O’Reilly, BAT’s director of scientific research.
"It is our unique plant-based vaccine technology, which acts as a fast, efficient host for the production of antigens for a variety of diseases, that has enabled us to make this progress and respond to the urgent global need for safe and effective treatments and vaccines."
O'Reilly added that the move forms part of its "ongoing commitment to innovation and science" in line with its A Better Tomorrow corporate strategy.