A Canadian Company Is Ready To Test A COVID-19 Vaccine On Humans But Needs Government Help
Progress is being made. One COVID-19 vaccine in Canada is ready to move on to human trials but the company needs government support. So far it's just been tested on animals.
Providence Therapeutics is a vaccine company that's been working on a way to protect people from COVID-19.
On August 5, the Toronto-based organization released data about the work being done with its vaccine for the virus.
Based on what's happened so far, there were higher neutralizing antibody responses seen against a particular protein that was effective in neutralizing coronavirus.
That, along with other responses, showed them that there could be long-lasting immunity.
Providence Therapeutics believes that these data put its vaccine on track for human trials in Canada later in the year.
Studies about its ability to bring about an immune response were done at the University of Toronto and evaluated blindly and independently.
"The results coming from our first animal experiment showed that the vaccines are resulting in a strong immune response," said Dr. Mario Ostrowski in a news release.
He was part of the blinded and independent studies.
Dr. Ostrowski also said that the vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies at higher concentrations than other mRNA vaccines.
"I would gladly test our vaccine head-to-head against any out there," said Eric Marcusson, chief scientific officer of Providence Therapeutics.
He believes that the results compare favourably to results from other companies working on a vaccine.
Brad Sorenson, president and CEO of Providence Therapeutics, noted that while it's satisfying to see everything come together, there's more to be done.
"Now we reiterate our request to governments in Canada to support us as we move forward quickly into human trials," he said.
In a statement to Narcity, the Providence Therapeutics, funding is needed but after applying and some back and forth about their process, they haven't heard from the federal government since June 8.
A $35 million proposal was submitted about conducting human trials.
They also believe they could produce five million doses of the vaccine by the middle of 2021 to be used in Canada but a lack of funding could cause delays.
"Given the slow response from the government, we’ve had to scale back some of the more expensive, but critical, elements of our program, such as purchasing supplies for mass manufacturing and validating our process for advanced trials," they said. "These delays are costly and could cause further delays down the line."*
Other work is being done in the country to get a COVID-19 vaccine ready.
A company in Quebec started human trials in July for one that's derived from plants.
The federal government is also trying to get all the supplies needed for everyone in the country to get two doses of a vaccine once one is ready.
*Editor's Note: This story has been updated.