U of S researchers move closer to human trials for COVID-19 vaccine

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Category: Local News

Saskatchewan vaccine hunters at the U of S Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Organization – International Vaccine Center (VIDO-Intervac) are one step closer to testing humans for its COVID-19 vaccine .

The experimental vaccine has been successfully tested on ferrets, which have proven to be among the best mammalian candidates for testing. A US press release notes that the trial showed a strong immune response, generated antibodies, and was shown to be effective in reducing viral infection and load.

“We are working to make our COVID-19 vaccine progress as quickly as possible,” said VIDO-InterVac director Dr. Volker Gerdts. “Proving that the vaccine works in ferrets is a key step in the developmental path. “

The vaccine was developed based on research on related viruses such as SARS and MERS. So far, success has also been based on previous formulations produced jointly with Dalhousie University, the University of British Columbia and the International Vaccine Institute located in South Korea.

The next phase includes additional trials and safety studies to pilot human clinical trials in the fall of 2020. VIDO-Intervac is in the process of setting up a manufacturing plant that will ultimately lead to large-scale production. The organization is also cooperating with other research facilities in the development of antivirals and therapies to treat COVID-19.

“We are delighted with these results and are continuing to develop our vaccine for regulatory approval,” said project manager Dr. Darryl Falzarano.

VIDO-Intervac is a world leader in infectious disease research and was the first Canadian laboratory to isolate the virus responsible for COVID-19. Her work is supported by the federal and provincial governments and the Canada Foundation for Innovation through their Major Science Initiatives Fund.

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