A Phase 2 trial of Canada’s first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine is showing promising antibody results.

Nathalie Landry, Medicago’s executive vice-president says the Quebec-based company’s vaccine produced 10 times the antibodies in adults compared with those who have had COVID-19.

Although the results are not peer-reviewed, Landry says her team is “quietly confident” the vaccine will also prove to be very effective at preventing COVID-19 infections.

“We are very excited to see such positive results from the Phase 2 data. After two doses, the adjuvanted vaccine candidate induced robust neutralizing antibody and cellular immune responses in all subjects, irrespectively of age,” Landry said in a statement posted on the company’s website. “These results give us confidence as we continue to move forward with our Phase 3 clinical trial. We hope to add another tool in the global fight against COVID-19, particularly as cross-protection emerges as an important consideration in vaccination efforts worldwide.”

Medicago’s vaccine uses a relative of the tobacco plant (native to Australia) to grow a particle that resembles the virus that causes COVID-19 but contains none of the genetic material.

The Phase 3 trial was launched on March 16. Trial sites are currently enrolling subjects in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil, with additional sites expected to be added in the coming weeks, the company said. 

According to a Medicago statement, the vaccine candidate has received Fast Track designation by the FDA in the United States, and Health Canada has initiated a review of Medicago’s COVID-19 rolling submission under the Interim Order.

The Phase 3 trial is the final step before Health Canada can decide whether to approve the vaccine, something Landry hopes can happen this summer.

If approved, the Medicago vaccine is likely to be the first COVID-19 shot produced in Canada in any way. The bulk material will mainly be manufactured at Medicago’s North Carolina facility, but the vials are filled and finished with the GlaxoSmithKline pandemic adjuvant in Canada.

While Canada has pre-purchased 20-million doses of Medicago’s vaccine, most Canadians will be vaccinated before the shot is approved.

 

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