British American Tobacco to utilize tobacco leaves in new potential COVID-19 vaccine, says GlobalData

Following the news that British American Tobacco (BAT) is currently developing a potential coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine made of tobacco leaves;

Carmen Bryan, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on the development:

“A key feature of this vaccine that sets it apart from others currently in development is that it is reportedly stable at room temperature, and thus doesn’t require refrigeration. Should the vaccine be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other health bodies, this feature could prove instrumental in countries with warmer climates, where refrigerated transportation and storage of large quantities is a costly and challenging operation.

“It is also an example of another company jumping on the corporate bandwagon. Corporate responsibility and ethics is increasingly important in the COVID-19 climate, with consumers keeping a close eye on big name brands to see how they are reacting. While certainly a surprising move, it aligns with the current trends that is seeing large corporations pledging to ‘do their part’ in the fight against ‘the invisible enemy’. BAT plans to develop the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis, and this gesture of good-will will surely resonate well with consumers.

“The use of tobacco leaves as a basis for the vaccine is certainly noteworthy. Over the past few years we have seen unique and innovative uses for new ingredients across all manner of sectors – take CBD oils boom in popularity for instance – and so by utilising the natural perception of tobacco leaves, BAT is clearly paving its own path, one that may strike a chord with consumers open to new innovations. Ultimately though, it depends on the development and approval process of this potential new vaccine, which will take place over the coming months.”

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