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Health Canada authorizes made-in-Canada COVID-19 vaccine

Plant-based vaccine was 71 per cent effective against COVID-19 one week after second dose
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NNSL file photo

Health Canada has authorized a made-in-Canada COVID-19 vaccine from Medicago, known as Covifenz.

The two-dose, plant-based vaccine is authorized for use in people aged 18 to 64.

Health Canada says its effectiveness and safety in those under 18 and over 64 have “not yet been established.”

Clinical trials suggested the vaccine was 71 per cent effective in protecting against COVID-19 one week after the second dose. The dosing schedule is 21 days apart.

Medicago, a biotechnology company based in Quebec City, along with GlaxoSmithKline, submitted Phase 3 data to Health Canada in December.

The company released data on Dec. 7 that suggests its vaccine candidate was 75.3 per cent effective against the Delta variant in a late-stage study when enhanced by GlaxoSmithKline’s booster.

Medicago’s vaccine uses technology that does not involve animal products or live viruses like traditional methods.

It used recombinant technology, involving the genetic sequence of a virus, with living plants as the host. The resulting virus-like particles mimic the shape and dimensions of a virus, which allows the body to recognize them and spark an immune response.

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