Medicago Publishes Phase 3 Data for Plant-Based COVID-19 Vaccine


Medicago’s plant-based vaccine, Covifenz, was 69.5% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 infection and 78.8% effective against moderate-to-severe disease.

Today, Medicago announced the publication of promising results from a phase 3 study of their COVID-19 vaccine, Covifenz.

The trial results show that 2 doses of the novel plant-based vaccine were 69.5% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 infection. The overall vaccine efficacy against moderate-to-severe disease was 78.8%.

Covifenz was first authorized for use by Health Canada on February 24, 2022. Covifenz was the first authorized vaccine developed in Canada and the first to utilize plant-based virus-like particles.

Coronavirus-like particles (CoVLP) are produced by plants and demonstrate the same prefusion spike glycoprotein of the original COVID-19 strain. The Covifenz vaccine combines CoVLP with Adjuvant System 03 (AS03).

The phase 3 trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), administered 2 intramuscular injections of Covifenz to 24141 adult participants at 85 vaccine centers. The doses were administered 21 days apart, and the most common side effects were injection site pain, headache, fatigue, fever, muscle aches, and chills.

No severe COVID-19 infections occurred in the vaccine group, and the average participant age was 29 years.

There has been some debate over the need for more COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The mRNA vaccines currently approved in the US are highly effective against severe or fatal COVID-19 disease.

However, another NEJM study points out that the plant-based Covifenz vaccine does not require storage at extremely cold temperatures. This could make Covifenz an appealing COVID-19 vaccine option in primary healthcare settings and low- and middle-income countries.

“The world needs a diverse range of vaccine options to continue to fight COVID-19, and we are proud to be able to contribute,” said Toshifumi Tada, Medicago president and CEO.

Founded in 1999, Medicago is located in Quebec, Canada. Medicago describes itself as “a pioneer in plant-based therapeutics,” with manufacturing capabilities in both Canada and the US. Medicago is majority owned by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, a Japanese pharmaceutical company the emphasizes vaccine research and development.

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