Articles worth reading

Microsoft expands 'Highway to a 100 Unicorns' initiative 

account_balanceMetro Manila access_time4 days ago

Microsoft for Startups launches the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem. This follows the initiative’s success in India, where only 56 startups were selected to ...

DOH reports 1,509 new COVID-19 cases on Oct. 21

account_balanceMetro Manila access_time4 days ago

The Department of Health reported 1,509 new cases of COVID-19 on October 21, the Philippines' lowest daily rise since Sept. 7, according to a report by GMA News. The DOH noted, however, that 13 testing laboratories failed to submit their data on...

Photo courtesy of: MPIO

Isko wants anti-leftist tarps removed in Manila 

account_balanceManila access_time4 days ago

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno ordered the removal of the tarpaulins declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines, as well as the New People's Army and the National Democratic Front, as persona non grata in the National Capital Region, according to...

Metro News

Medicago

Manufacturing firm developing COVID-19 vaccine from tobacco

account_balanceMetro News account_circleMarc Lacson chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

Medicago, a Canadian-based company, is now focusing on developing a plant-based coronavirus disease vaccine which it hopes will be submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for approval very soon.

Medicago said it successfully produced a Virus-Like Particle (VLP) of the coronavirus just 20 days after receiving the genetic sequence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV2), the virus responsible for COVID-19. This is the breakthrough first step in developing a vaccine.

Medicago already uses a plant-based technology to develop vaccines for seasonal flu, but is now working on developing a vaccine for COVID-19.  Instead of working with live virus in chicken eggs as a bioreactor, Medicago uses tobacco plants in what it describes as a faster and more efficient process of producing proteins. 

The company said that using tobacco plants and genetically engineered agrobacteria works faster than using eggs.  It also makes the vaccine easier to produce at scale.  The company believes that tobacco plants are "highly efficient at producing proteins of varying complexity, serving as mini-factories for our vaccines." 

With its plant-based technology, Medicago researchers insert a genetic sequence into agrobacterium, a soil bacteria, which is taken up by the subject plant Nicotiana benthamiana—known as a close relative to tobacco. The plant develops the protein that can be used as a vaccine. 

“The pace of our initial progress in COVID-19 is attributable to the capability of our plant-based platform which is able to produce vaccine and antibody solutions to counteract this global public health threat. The ability to produce a candidate vaccine within 20 days after obtaining the gene is a critical differentiator for our proven technology. This technology enables scale-up at unprecedented speed to potentially combat COVID-19.” said Dr. Bruce Clark, CEO of Medicago.

Medicago researchers discovered that tobacco, with its ideal big leaves, is much better as a subject plant because it is hearty and grows quickly.  Clinical grade plant material can be produced in a little more than a month.  The company believes the process is a better way to cultivate the vaccine. 

Medicago has a 97,000-square-foot greenhouse in North Carolina where it grows Nicotiana benthamiana—a flowering plant endemic to Australia and known as close relative to Nicotiana tabacum or tobacco plant.  The company grows the plants in Durham's Research Triangle Park, the leading and largest high-technology research and science park in North America, not for cigarette production but for use in testing and development of the seasonal flu vaccine. 

Amid the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, Medicago decided to focus on the development of COVID-19 vaccine this time.

Medicago researchers said if the virus begins to mutate, as is expected for COVID-19, they can update the production using new plants.

In its announcement, Medicago said it will initiate preclinical testing for safety and efficacy of the vaccine.  If approved by the FDA, the company expects to begin human trials by July or August. 

Medicago said it also began using its technology platform to develop antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in collaboration with the Laval University’s Infectious Disease Research Centre. The antibodies could potentially be used to treat people infected by the virus.  The university program is headed by Gary Kobinger, who helped develop a vaccine and treatment for Ebola.

Medicago said it is great to develop something positive from a plant with a negative stigma such as tobacco. The potential of turning a plant that has been associated with harm to preserve life is a positive development.

Medicago is a Quebec-based company that is partly owned by Philip Morris Investments, a part of Philip Morris International whose research, development and production signal a tectonic shift in its core business operation as it moves away from traditional cigarettes to heated tobacco products. 


date_rangeDate Published
7 months ago
shareShare article
folder_openArticle tags
content_copyCategorized under

Share your thoughts with us

Related Articles

Photo courtesy of: My Makati

Makati launches online pre-marriage counseling 

account_balanceMakati chrome_reader_mode3 days ago

Makati Mayor Abby Binay today announced that the Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD) has launched its Online Pre-Marriage Counselling service for the safety and convenience of couples applying for a marriage license during the pandemic. The mayo...

Maynilad announces water interruption in Las Pinas, Cavite 

account_balanceLas Piñas chrome_reader_mode7 hours ago

Magsasagawa ang Maynilad ng facility upgrade para sa enhanced earthquake resiliency ng Pagcor Pumping Station nito sa Brgy. Tambo, Parañaque City. Ang proyektong ito ay alinsunod sa layunin ng kumpanya na lalong mapabuti ang serbisyo patubig s...

Manila Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno Domagoso / Manila PIO

172 Manila barangays COVID-free since Sep.t 1 

account_balanceManila chrome_reader_mode6 days ago

Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso said 172 barangays in the city have remained COVID-free since September 1. "Nananatili pong zero ang COVID infections sa 172 na barangays sa lungsod, sana po ay ma-maintain nila ito sa pam...

The struggles in 2020 of the casino industry in the Philippines

account_balanceMetro Manila chrome_reader_mode1 month ago

Do you want to learn more about the challenges and predictions for the gambling industry in the Philippines? Find all answers in this article!

Let's Stay Connected Like us on our Facebook page.
×
Click on the article to continue reading
Solar-powered bike pit stop to open in San Juan Mass vaccination for Covid-19 expected mid-2021 Voter registration limited to 4 days a week PNP prepares for All Saints weekend Work shifts seen to help economy LTO releases new motorcycle plates Send Press Release MNC Facebook Page MNC Twitter Page MNC Instagram Page LGU Spotlight Barangay Front Business Sports Entertainment Metro Gen Metro Feature