Coronavirus: Vaccine player starts injecting humans with shots derived from tobacco-like plant

Medicago has been using plants to develop potential vaccines for more than two decades.

The company’s new partnership with GlaxoSmithKline putting its technology to the test against the coronavirus is pushing the Canadian biotech into the limelight.

They dosed the first humans with its experimental Covid-19 vaccine on Monday. This made it one of 23 candidates that have reached phase 1 clinical trials in the race to stop the spread of the virus, according to the World Health Organisation.

The company is backed by other large corporations that have invested including Philip Morris International Inc and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, last week clinched a deal with Glaxo to pair the vaccine with the vaccine with the UK giant’s adjuvants – boosters that can help any brand of shot.

Medicago relies on an Australian plant that’s a close relative to tobacco, known as nicotiana benthamiana, to develop the vaccines.

The trial will involve 180 healthy patients aged 18 to 55, and it will test various dosses of the vaccine alone and coupled with two different  adjuvants: one from Glaxo and the other from Dynax Technologies Corp.

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