While the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, a Canadian company called Medicago may have some good news.
Medicago has already created a COVID-19 vaccine that it hopes the FDA will quickly approve for production by November of 2021, DefenseOne reported. Medicago CEO Bruce Clark claims that his company is capable of producing 10 million doses a month.
Alternative production method used
“There are a couple of others who are claiming that they have — well, we will call them vaccine[s],” Clark acknowledged.
“But they’re different technologies. Some are RNA– or DNA-based vaccines that have not yet been proven in any indication yet, let alone this one,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll be successful.”
The CEO said the secret to Medicago’s progress is in its use of plants as a bioreactor rather than chicken eggs, which is how virus proteins have been traditionally grown.
However, relying on eggs is a slower and costlier option, as Clark explained. It also carries a higher risk of unwanted mutations that can render a vaccine ineffective.
“That’s the difference between us,” Clark went on, contrasting his company’s approach with the use of egg-based methods. He added that “we go directly to producing the vaccine or the antibody without having to propagate the virus.”
Israeli vaccine efforts
There have been reports that Israel’s Institute for Biological Research is close to developing a vaccine of its own, but the country’s Defense Ministry has attempted to tamp down expectations.
“There has been no breakthrough in the efforts of the biological institute to find a vaccine for the coronavirus or to develop testing kits,” Haaretz quoted the ministry as saying on Thursday.
“The institute’s work is conducted according to an orderly work plan and it will take time. If and when there will be something to report, it will be done in an orderly fashion,” it continued.
“There are now more than 50 experienced scientists working at the institute on researching and developing a medical remedy for the virus.”
On Wednesday night, President Donald Trump announced new measures to deal with the coronavirus crisis, including new travel restrictions affecting European countries.