Plant-based COVID-19 vaccine grown inside Aussie native ‘showing promising results’

A plant-based coronavirus vaccine grown inside a native Australian plant related to tobacco is showing promising results against the virus, which has claimed more than six million lives globally.

The vaccine, known as CoVLP+AS03 and developed by Medicago, has been approved in Canada for people who are 18 to 64 years of age.

Nicotiana benthamiana is used widely in plant virology due to the number of pathogens able to infect it. (Supplied)

Scientists insert bacteria containing the virus’ genetic code into the plant Nicotiana benthamian.

The plant then starts developing its own coronavirus-like particles or CoVLP.

These are extracted and combined with an immune-boosting additive, known as an adjuvant, in the final vaccine, called CoVLP+AS03.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday shows the vaccine is 69.5 per cent effective against symptomatic infection and 78.8 per cent effective against moderate-to-severe disease.
This electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19.
The plants develop ‘coronavirus-like particles’ which are extracted and combined with an adjuvant to create the final vaccine. (NIAID-RML via AP)

To date, there’s no data to show effectiveness against the Omicron variant, which has become the dominant COVID-19 strain in Australia.

Coles Eastgardens

How Australia faced the emergence of the Omicron variant

NSW recorded 21 deaths and 18,529 cases, while Victoria reported 14 deaths and 11,596 infections.

The new figures mean 3012 Victorians have now died since the onset of the pandemic, while in NSW 2867 lives have been lost.

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