Canada approves Medicago’s plant-based COVID-19 vaccine for adults

(Reuters) – Medicago’s vaccine on Thursday became the world’s first plant-based shot approved against COVID-19 after Health Canada cleared it for use in adults.

The two-dose vaccine, which uses an adjuvant from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) to boost immune response, is the sixth COVID-19 shot to receive regulatory clearance in the country.

The home-grown vaccine, branded Covifenz, is based on a technology that uses plants in its development process to produce non-infectious particles that mimic the virus.

The Quebec-based privately held company has an agreement to supply up to 76 million doses of the vaccine to the Canadian government. Medicago said on Thursday it was committed to fulfilling the order as soon as possible.

The shot, approved for people aged 18 to 64 years, was 75.3% effective against the Delta variant of the virus in a late-stage study, the companies said in December.

The vaccine also showed overall efficacy of 71% against all variants of the coronavirus except Omicron, which was not prevalent when the study was underway.

Canada has approved several vaccines including those based on mRNA technology from Moderna (MRNA.O) and Pfizer (PFE.N). Last week, Health Canada cleared Novavax’s (NVAX.O) protein-based shot for use in adults.

Reporting by Amruta Khandekar; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Sriraj Kalluvila

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