First plant-based COVID-19 vaccine shows promising results in global trial

The world's first plant-based COVID-19 vaccine — developed by GlaxoSmithKline and Medicago, a Canadian pharmaceutical company — was 71 percent effective overall in a global trial, the drugmakers said Dec. 7. 

The study assessed the safety and efficacy of Medicago's plant-derived vaccine in combination with GlaxoSmithKline's pandemic adjuvant, an ingredient that boosts immune response and vaccine efficacy, according to The Washington Post.

Brian Ward, medical officer at Medicago, told the Post that plants are used "as bioreactors to produce the antigen" for the vaccine, which the drugmakers are calling "CoVLP."

The vaccine was 75.3 percent effective against COVID-19 of any severity from the delta variant in the late stage trial, which included 24,000 participants worldwide. The vaccine was well-tolerated and no study participants experienced serious adverse events, the drugmakers said. The trial did not assess the vaccine's efficacy against the omicron variant.

Medicago said it initiated the regulatory filing process for the vaccine with the FDA. 


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