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COVID vaccines

Mitsubishi Tanabe to bring plant-derived COVID vaccine to Japan

Doses to be derived from tobacco plants promise low cost and easy storage

Medicago, a Canada-based subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, is developing a technology to make vaccines from a relative of the fast-growing tobacco plant. (Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma)

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma has decided to launch the world's first plant-based vaccine in Japan, Nikkei has learned, potentially paving the way to stable COVID-19 vaccine supplies for a country that so far has approved only overseas-made doses.

The drugmaker plans to begin clinical trials in Japan in October and submit an application to the government as early as March 2022. The company says the vaccine is easy and inexpensive to mass-produce, and that it can cope with new variants.

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