Researchers across the world have been working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine for months. As of now, a team in Edmonton has shortlisted two different COVID-19 vaccines. On Thursday, June 25, Edmonton biotech company Entos Pharmaceutical announced that they'll be moving forward with human trials of their COVID-19 vaccines in late July.
Based on Entos' press release, they're focusing on DNA vaccines, which differ from traditional vaccines for a number of reasons.
One of the lead researchers, John Lewis, who also works at the University of Alberta, spoke to Global News and explained why his team believes DNA vaccines can potentially be more suitable than the traditional one to fight COVID-19.
The regular vaccines inject the patient with an "inactive virus" that tricks the body into fighting the real thing. But the DNA vaccine would "deliver the instructions" to the patient's body so the body would begin creating the resistance on its own, Lewis told Global.
He said that the DNA vaccine has a number of advantages: stronger defensive mechanisms, greater stability, and ease of production.
The biotech firm tested early rounds on mice and found that the vaccine method was strong in terms of potency, safety measures, immunogenicity, and efficacy.
On top of that, none of the mice lost weight as a result of the vaccine administration.
In terms of the human trials, the company received a $4.2 million from federal government institutions such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Research Nova Scotia, and the Institute for Ageing.
Entos will also be partnering with the Canadian Center for Vaccinology in Nova Scotia, Canada to get the ball rolling on Phase 1 of the clinical trial.
Lewis told Global that they'll be testing on between 70 to 75 volunteer patients in Phase 1.
Phase 2 of the trials could take off in September, while the company is hoping Phase 3 gets off the ground by late 2020.
At that stage, they'll be working directly with the World Health Organization to give the vaccine a go in regions suffering from high COVID-19 rates.
"Entos aims to develop a safe and effective Covigenix DNA vaccine for COVID-19 in one year," reads the press release.
The article's cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.