Canadian at work on COVID-19 vaccine is optimistic


“We know our vaccine is safe. Therefore, I will reach out as the first vaccine recipient, ”said Chil-Yong Kang, PhD, DSc, FRSC, professor of virology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University Western Ontario.

Kang is a Canadian scientist who has developed a preventive HIV vaccine that is currently undergoing clinical trials in humans. Now his research team is working tirelessly on a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Kang says his team is using “well-established platform technology based on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)” to create an effective vaccine against COVID-19. The same platform technology has been successfully used in his laboratory for the development of a vaccine against MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), another coronavirus disease. He said he was optimistic about the upcoming availability of a preventive vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.

His team works 12 hours a day, entering the laboratory seven days a week to make their COVID-19 vaccine testable within three months, he said. It’s a breakneck speed to develop a vaccine against a new virus, which normally takes years to develop, since traditional vaccines take between eight and 10 years to develop. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), estimated that a vaccine could be ready for the general public in about 18 months.

Video of Dr. Chil-Yong Kang on the creation of a coronavirus vaccine

Zoom Interview by Linda Solomon Wood with Chil-Yong Kang, edited for brevity

But due to the urgency of stopping the COVID-19 pandemic, Kang says he would like to see the Canadian government’s accelerated vaccines for human clinical trials. And that’s one of the reasons why Kang and his team work tirelessly.

“Vaccines must be safe. No matter how effective the vaccine is, if it is not safe, we cannot use it, “he said. ” He [also] must be effective. Ideally, we want to have a vaccine that can prevent over 90% of infections. “

The Government of Canada funded research, almost $ 1 million, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Other Canadian universities working to find a vaccine are McMaster University, University of Alberta, Laval University, University of British Columbia, University of Saskatchewan and University of Manitoba .

Kang says that in the near future, he will need a lot more support for human clinical trials.

“We know our vaccine is safe. Therefore, I’m going to take my arm out as the first vaccine, ”said microbiologist Chil-Yong Kang.


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