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A plant-based COVID-19 vaccine from a GlaxoSmithKline alliance with Medicago shows strong antibody response – MarketWatch

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https://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-plant-based-vaccine-from-a-glaxosmithkline-alliance-with-medicago-shows-strong-antibody-response-11621349865

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Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline
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-0.28%

and Canadian vaccine maker Medicago have reported promising results from a Phase 2 clinical trial of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

In a joint statement posted on Tuesday, the companies say the study shows trial participants have 10 times more antibodies in their systems than patients recovering from COVID-19. They reported that there were no severe adverse reactions among trial participants.

It will be good news for GSK, which has been overshadowed by vaccine progress made by rivals, and it may relieve pressure on Chief Executive Emma Walmsley after Elliott Management, an activist investor, took a recent stake in the business.   

This COVID-19 collaboration involves Medicago providing the plant-derived vaccine candidate, which is tested in combination with GSK’s pandemic adjuvant, a substance intended to increases of otherwise affect an immune response to a vaccine. It is different because most proteins for vaccines are grown in the cells of insects, while Medicago’s protein is grown in plants.

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Dr. Thomas Breuer, chief medical officer of GSK’s vaccine division, said: “We are delighted to see that the results suggest a very strong immune response. Medicago’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate combined with GSK’s pandemic adjuvant was also well tolerated, reinforcing its potential benefits. We now look forward to the outcome of the ongoing Phase 3 trial of this refrigerator-stable vaccine candidate as the next step forward in our contribution to the global response to the pandemic.”

Phase 3 of the trial started in March, involving volunteers in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil, with additional sites expected to be added in the coming weeks. The vaccine candidate has received fast-track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Health Canada has initiated a review of Medicago’s COVID-19 rolling submission.

Read: Austria to phase out AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Meanwhile, Austria’s health minister, Wolfgang Mückstein, said in a in a television interview that the country would phase out use of AstraZeneca’s
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COVID-19 vaccine. He told Puls 24 that the reason was delivery issues, and some citizens were worried about using this vaccine because of reports of rare side effects.

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