While the world is making monumental changes in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a vaccine is being worked on in Canada. And now, a Saskatchewan coronavirus vaccine is officially in the testing stages. Although there is still a long road ahead for human use, officials are working hard as more grant money comes in.
Back in January 2020, it was announced that the University of Saskatchewan received permission from the Public Health Agency of Canada to start working on a vaccine for COVID-19.
Since then, researchers have been accepting grants to help the process along.
While it could take up to a year to complete, CJWW has confirmed with the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre that the vaccine is now being tested on animals.
As of now, there is no timeline as to when it could be ready for human use.
Volker Gerdts, CEO and Director of VIDO-InterVac, told CJWW that everything learned from the first SARS outbreak gives the researchers an idea of what the vaccine will have to look like.
He also added that as they are now a few weeks away from finishing research stages, he is positive the vaccine will work.
Once the animal testing is complete, the research team will then need to send any viable vaccine away for clinical studies before being confirmed as safe for humans.
A #USask research team and collaborating scientists from across the country have been awarded $1 million to develop… https://t.co/cKppEH1Jdo— U of Saskatchewan (@U of Saskatchewan) 1583509818.0
This massive milestone comes just after an announcement that the Saskatchewan research team was granted almost $1 million to develop the coronavirus vaccine.
According to a press release posted on March 6, the VIDO-InterVac team was part of a $2.67 million federal rapid research funding initiative aimed at contributing to global efforts for combating COVID-19.
This money will then help the 12-person team develop the best suitable vaccine.
According to the researchers, animal models are helping scientists to evaluate vaccines, antiviral medications, and drugs to protect animals and humans.
“The global race is on to find out which is the best animal model for replicating the disease observed in humans. Is it mice, hamsters, or ferrets? Whichever model works best is the one we’re going to use. Once the model is developed, we will then be able to test our vaccine candidates for effectiveness,” said Gerdts in the press release.
“We will make the models available to other investigators who have leading candidate vaccines, antiviral drugs and immunity-boosting therapies.”
Numbers of infected individuals are on the rise and as of March 12, the first child in Canada was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Calgary.
It is estimated that up to 70 percent of Canadians could be impacted by the pandemic, should it not be contained.