A Covid-19 vaccine being developed by British American Tobacco from tobacco leaves has been approved for human trials by the US health regulator, the maker of Dunhill and Lucky Strike cigarettes said today. 

The enrolment for the study is expected to start shortly, with results likely by mid-2021, the company said. 

The world's second biggest cigarette company raised eyebrows in April when it said it was developing a Covid-19 vaccine and would be able to produce 1 million to 3 million doses a week if it had the support of government agencies and the right manufacturers. 

The approval for Phase 1 trials comes at a time when the UK and US have started rolling out vaccines made by Pfizer and German drug company BioNTech over the past two weeks. 

"Moving into human trials with both our Covid-19 and seasonal flu vaccine candidates is a significant milestone," BAT's Director of Scientific Research David O'Reilly said. 

The Covid-19 vaccine is being developed by the company's biotech arm Kentucky BioProcessing.