Kentucky BioProcessing, Inc. (KBP) is a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. and a member of the British American Tobacco Group. The company uses tobacco plants to express, extract and purify proteins for use as vaccines and other pharmaceuticals. The tobacco used for biomanufacturing recombinant proteins is Nicotiana benthamiana, a variety not used for production of traditional tobacco products.
KBP is developing a vaccine against the virus SARS-CoV-2 responsible for COVID-19, which will be carried out on a not-for-profit basis. The company inserted a portion of the viral sequence to serve as an antigen into tobacco plants and reported that it expects to produce 1-3 million doses per week starting in June for pre-clinical testing. The antigens that are produced by the tobacco plants are used to induce an immune response. The antigens are designed to be stable at room temperature.
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- Cluster: COVID-19A cluster of topics related to COVID-19. COVID-19 is the abbreviated name for coronavirus disease 2019, a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus strain called SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan City, China and the outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020 by the WHO.