2022-02-24 General


This article reports that Health Canada approved Medicago’s Covifenz, a plant-derived protein subunit vaccine. In trials, Covifenz had 71% effectiveness against Delta infection, and 100% effective against hospitalization. According to their product monograph, it is fridge-stable, but needs to be handled gently.

Medicago’s vax is a virus-like particle, what I generally call a “spikey ball”. It looks like a virus, but doesn’t actually have a payload so it can’t reproduce.

Medicago is sort of a Canadian company. It is based in Quebec City and owned by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, a big Japanese pharma company, and Philip Morris, the tobacco company.

The Government of Canada signed a contract two years ago-ish for 20M doses, with an option for 56M more.

I have had a difficult time figuring out how much they are going to be able to make per month in the short term, but the Medicago web site says that once their factory in Quebec is finished (which this article says will be in 2024), it will be able to make a billion doses per year. They have a plant in Durham, North Carolina, which is 16% the size of the Quebec plant which is under construction, so maybe it can make 160M doses per year (under the most optimistic scenarios)?


This article (from the US, but probably applicable) says that in the Delta wave, unvaxxed people were five times more likely to catch COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people, but in the Omicron wave, unvaxxed people were only three times more likely to catch COVID-19 as the vaxxed:

The change was even larger for hospitalization: the ratio went from 15x during Delta to 7x during Omicron:


This article says that there have been about 50 poison control calls due to rapid antigen tests. Apparently the liquid in some of the tests is harmful if ingested or put on the skin. This generally is annoying instead of dangerous for adult humans, but can be dangerous for children and pets.


This article says that Canada bought 100K doses of Evusheld yesterday. As I mentioned yesterday, this preprint says that Evusheld sucks against BA.2.

Recommended Reading

This article (paywalled) says that according to relatively simple statistical analysis, twentyish countries are cooking their COVID books.

This article talks about the promise of wastewater surveillance in Canda.