The tobacco giant Reynolds American is currently testing tobacco plants to produce a vaccine for the outbreak in China.
Experiments rely on the transplantation of a genetically engineered coronavirus into tobacco samples to study its response in terms of producing antibodies that help obtain a vaccine for the epidemic that has killed hundreds and infected thousands.
“People may make fun of this, but the fact is we may be able to help,” said Hugh Hydeon, chief executive of Reynolds Americas Pious Processing, which is conducting the experiments.
The company contacted the US administration to inform it of its attempts and would provide it with a sample next month.
The problem for Reynolds at the moment is that experiments are still in the early stages, so the pandemic may worsen before treatment is reached.
Moreover, these experiments require large quantities of tobacco samples.
And vaccines from plants may not be fully effective for all types of disease, as happened with the disease Ebola, which the company also conducted experiments to produce a vaccine for him, it was not effective vaccines produced in other ways, so it was not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
It is worth noting, according to the Politico website report that tobacco companies are seeking, through this new trend, to offset the losses they have suffered due to the decline in tobacco sales and age restrictions.