Medicago in vaccine development

How green lentils helped fight the pandemic

As COVID-19 exploded in 2020, the world found itself in urgent need of vaccine in historic amounts and with a shorter development time than ever before. Medicago played an important role in the global production chain by providing large amounts of lentil-based lectin, a protein essential in the purification process of the vaccine.

A history of fighting epidemics
Long before the spreading of the corona virus, Medicago had delivered lectins for the purification of vaccines to the pharmaceutical industry, for example vaccines against the previous swine flu and ebola epidemics. These experiences proved crucial in helping Medicago deliver high-quality products reliably even in the most critical parts of the corona pandemic.

Extensive lectin experience
Ever since its foundation, Medicago has been a major global supplier of lectins. Medicago was therefore well-positioned to deliver large volumes of lens culinaris lectin (LCA/LcH), a protein extracted from green lentils and used in the purification process of protein-based corona vaccines. Early on, Medicago also decided to expand its production capacity to meet the large demand.

Highest share of active molecules
Lectin quality needed to be high to guarantee a high vaccine quality. Medicago is well-known for its supreme lectin quality. Our entire production chain is quality assured and closely monitored, from processing the raw material to distributing the finished product. One of the key performance factors is Medicago’s high-quality affinity chromatography, which generates a very high active vs. inactive molecule ratio, a key quality factor for efficient vaccine purification.