Owensboro biotech company could test COVID-19 vaccine in humans by June

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – A potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Kentucky BioProcessing in Owensboro could progress to human clinical trials as early as June, according to their parent company’s website.

In April, British American Tobacco announced that Kentucky Bioprocessing (KBP) was developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine using tobacco plant technology. Since then, BAT says they have completed pre-clinical testing and that the potential vaccine has been shown to produce a positive immune response.

BAT says the vaccine candidate is now ready to progress to the next stage: Phase 1 human clinical trials pending FDA authorization. These trials could begin as early as late-June.

In a statement on their website, BAT says, “We have committed funds to conduct these clinical trials, which could start as early as late June, pending the responses from relevant health bodies. We have also invested in additional equipment to boost our manufacturing capabilities should they be needed. We have submitted our Pre-Investigative New Drug package to the U.S. FDA who have acknowledged its submission whilst our correspondence with other government agencies around the world continues.  We are hopeful to receive further feedback in the coming weeks.”

According to BAT, KBP’s potential vaccine could be safer than a conventional vaccine because tobacco plants can’t host pathogens, which can cause human disease.

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(This story was originally published on May 19, 2020)

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