The UK’s largest private drugmaker, TBK, is the world’s largest manufacturer of generic medicines and has been linked to several deaths worldwide, including one at a British hospital.

The company’s shares have plunged in the past 24 hours as fears mount that it may be behind the sudden spike in coronavirus cases, a report in The Times newspaper said on Tuesday.

The report said TBK was also involved in the “huge growth” of an unnamed company in Africa, which is believed to have been responsible for the deaths.

The new report said the company’s chief executive was the son of its founder, Richard Morton, who died in March aged 90.

TBK said in a statement on Tuesday that it had been in touch with The Times about its findings and was “confident that our company’s reputation will be restored to the UK”.

“TBK has the utmost confidence in our company and the people who work for us and will cooperate fully with the UK authorities to establish the facts and the facts will be shared,” it said.

TBKE, which was founded in 1997, said it had no involvement in the coronaviruses.

The newspaper said it was not the first time TBKE had been linked with a spike in cases.

It said it and other UK-based drugmakers had “made a number of acquisitions” during the pandemic and had bought drugs “to increase their capacity to market”.