How Benson and Hedges, Marlboro Cigarette Makers are Creating a Covid-19 Vaccine.
British American Tobacco the makers of ST. Moritz , Benson and Hedges Cigarettes has joined researchers and pharmaceutical industries in the search for a medication to treat the Covid-19 virus ,a race that is being led by scientists in UK, Germany ,Australia and China and sure African alternative medicine practitioners are also looking at roots and seeds that will help humanity against its new enemy.
Tobacco companies joining the fray is quite an innovative approach having seen their tobacco products widely condemned for its assistance to development of lung, mouth cancer in human beings, its commendable for them to rethink and embark on creating an alternative use of their tobacco leaves as a medicine.
British American Tobacco PLC (BAT) is developing a potential vaccine grown in tobacco plants which they say will be faster and cheaper ,reports from mainstream media platforms have it that BAT has already started pre-clinical testing on animals of a plant based vaccine via US biotech subsidiary Kentucky Bio Processing .
The Benson and Hedges maker said on April 1 it could produce between 1 to 3 million doses per week by June if testing goes well but it will need support from government agencies. The London-listed company says it will begin clinical trials on humans soon and is currently running pre-clinical tests.
Another big tobacco company, Philip Morris makers of Marlboro Cigarettes through its partially owned Canadian Unit Medicago expects to start human trials of their potential vaccine this summer which is two months from today and equally plant based.
British American Tobacco Company were also sojourners into the search for a cure for Ebola and actually had a cure for Ebola called ZMapp which they developed with Mapp Biopharmaceutical but that treatment never made it out of the lab.
On an effective cure for coronavirus ,the British American Tobacco said it had cloned a portion of the virus’s genetic sequence and developed a potential Covid-19 antigen — a protein that induces the production of antibodies and enables the body’s immune system to prevent infection.
Gene coding for the antigen was injected into tobacco plants six weeks ago, which have been harvested and protein extracted for testing. According to BAT, this generates the vaccine faster than conventional methods, reducing the time required from several months to 6 weeks.
From all indications British American Tobacco Company are among those leading in the search for a cure and their success with their ebola cure ZMapp will serve as an encouragement and inspiration for them to come to the world’s rescue once again.
This noble intention and journey of research on tobacco plant based cure to help humanity is engineering a new rave of positivism to them after all the sanctions on their cigarette products as a very harmful and a potential killer.
If they achieve this their ambition of creating a tobacco based vaccine for covid-19, I guess that gesture will be enough to finally redeem them from the alleged previous harm and damages their cigarettes has caused its users and of course non users that were also harmed by its fumes which led to many nations making laws banning cigarette smoking in public places.
On the other hand, a tobacco plant based vaccine will give smokers the bragging rights once again and offer them a perspective of moral defense for their actions, just like legalizing marijuana in some states in the USA recently boosted the confidence of its users.
People of the world just can’t wait to get back to their normal lives and won’t mind who ever will be providing the cure for the corona virus so far it’s going to be safe for human consumption without any side effects regardless of its form or the substance that it’s composed of.
Tobacco for Cure : A Covid Influenced Innovation
Cookey Iwuoha is Project Coordinator All Africa Media Network, and Convener African Elders and Women Intercultural dialogue, He is a dialogue facilitator, passionate creative writer, poet and published author. He is the Publisher of Nigerian Eye Newspaper, a Young Africa Leadership Initiative (YALI) Alumni, and has participated in other capacity development programs like United Nation Foundation’s Virtual Reporting Fellowship, Centre for Human Rights Certificate on African Human Right System and Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Certificate program among others.