GS Paper - 3 (Biotechnology)

The world’s first plant-derived Covid-19 vaccine was cleared for use in Canada, creating a novel immunization to combat the virus from a unit of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. and Philip Morris International. The vaccine named Covifenz was jointly developed by Medicago Inc., a biopharma company owned by Mitsubishi Chemical and Philip Morris and based in Quebec City, and GlaxoSmithKline Plc.

More about Covifenz vaccine:

  1. This is the first authorized COVID-19 vaccine developed by a Canadian-based company, and the first that uses a plant-based protein technology.
  2. Medicago's Covifenz is authorized as a two-dose regimen of 3.75 micrograms per dose, to be administered 21 days apart.
  3. In clinical trials, the vaccine was found to be 71 per cent effective against symptomatic infection and 100% effective against severe disease caused by COVID-19.
  4. The Covifenz vaccine data suggest efficacy against multiple variants, including Delta.
  5. Clinical trials with Covifenz showed efficacy against the Delta and Gamma variants, and data also suggested efficacy against Alpha, Lambda and Mu variants.
  6. Covifenz is made from plant-based proteins that look like coronavirus and uses Glaxo’s adjuvant that contains DL-alpha-tocopherol, squalene, polysorbate 80, phosphate-buffered saline.
  7. The other ingredients include potassium phosphate monobasic anhydrous, anhydroussodium chloride, sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrous, and water for injection.
  8. Medicago uses living plants as bioreactors to produce a particle that mimics the target virus.
  9. The virus-like particles, or VLPs, are developed through a process of synthesis, infiltration, incubation, harvest, and purification.