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Medicago Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine is poised to become the first Western shot to be rejected by the World Health Organization, because of the company’s links to cigarette-maker Philip Morris International Inc.

The Canadian biopharma company’s request for pre-qualification of its Covifenz shot was not accepted, according to the WHO’s guidance document dated March 2. That means the WHO is unlikely to approve the vaccine for emergency use, which would also keep it out of the Covax global vaccine-sharing program.

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