Health Canada approves first homegrown, plant-based COVID-19 vaccine

Canada’s first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine officially received full approval from Health Canada on Wednesday.

The vaccine, created by Quebec-based Medicago, isn’t just notable for being the first approved Canadian-made vaccination against COVID-19; it’s also the first vaccine in the world to make use of fully plant-based ingredients for human use.

The two-dose vaccine, formally titled Covifenz, is approved for ages 18 to 64, with efficacy and safety in younger and older age groups not yet established.

Clinical trials showed that, one week after the second dose, Medicago’s Covifenz vaccine was 71 per cent effective in protecting trial participants ages 18 to 64 against COVID-19, making use of plant-based, virus-like particles.

It’s not yet known how this efficacy may have been impacted by the arrival of the Omicron variant, as the variant was not circulating during clinical trials.

Across Canada, just over 85 per cent of people ages five and above have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. It remains to be seen if the plant-based technology of Medicago’s new vaccine will encourage Canadians who have yet to be vaccinated to get their shots.

Read more on the Health Canada website.

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