While the coronavirus is a worldwide pandemic, the answer to stopping its spread could be found in Kentucky.
Kentucky BioProcessing announced in April it was developing a potential vaccine for COVID-19. The biotech firm has been injecting tobacco plants with a genetically modified coronavirus to see if it can produce antibodies for a possible vaccine.
KBP says its vaccine candidate has completed pre-clinical testing and has produced a positive immune response. It’s now ready for human clinical trials, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Kentucky BioProcessing is a subsidiary of British American Tobacco. Company officials were unavailable on Monday for interviews. According to its website, human clinicals could start as early as late June. The Owensboro biotech company says it has also invested in additional equipment to boost its manufacturing capabilities should they be needed.
Kentucky BioProcessing played a role in developing a drug treatment in the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
Another company, Moderna, announced this week that a coronavirus vaccine it’s tested in humans appears to be safe and has stimulated a response to the virus.