Scientist are infecting the tobacco plant with COVID-19 coronavirus to find out if the plant can produce antibodies for the virus. According to Politico, the same process was successfully used to fight influenza in 2012.
Reynolds American, the North Carolina cigarette giant behind the Camel, Newport and Pall Mall brands, is infecting fast-growing tobacco plants with a genetically modified coronavirus to see if they can produce antibodies for a possible vaccine.
The Pentagon’s medical research arm credited the use of tobacco plants in 2012 for the quick development of 10 million doses of flu vaccine. “Plant-based solutions” could over time prove more effective than the typical process—growing a virus in eggs—said Alan Magill, program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at the time, adding, “the research is very promising.”