Researchers at the University of Satskatchewan in Canada have successfully conducted pre-clinical trials for a vaccine candidate which could have the potential to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccine development team claims to have achieved a major milestone in the form of a strong immune response at the vaccine’s pre-clinical stage.
The potential vaccine has been developed by the University of Satskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization - International Vaccine Centre also called VIDO-InterVac. According to the Centre, the ferrets involved in the pre-clinical tests were given two immunizations preceding exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Post immunization, the vaccine candidate has induced a strong immunity in the ferrets by generating neutralizing anti-bodies and reducing viral infection in the upper respiratory tract to undetectable levels. As per sources, the Centre has planned to conduct several more trials including safety studies before moving to the human clinical trials stage.
VIDO-InterVac's Director, Dr. Volker Gerdts, has stated that the candidate is likely to become a COVID-19 vaccine in the future. He expects the vaccine to be ready under emergency authorization in the first half of 2021. He has further stated that frontline health-care workers could be among the first beneficiaries of this potential vaccine and general public might have to wait longer to avail this vaccine.
For the record, VIDO-InterVac had also conducted research on other coronaviruses including SARS and MERS and the data is being used for the development of this potential vaccine. The Centre is also on its way to develop a vaccine manufacturing facility with a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certification to support vaccine production capacity.
Currently, VIDO-InterVac is working with several research groups across the world for testing therapeutics and antivirals against COVID-19. The Centre has received more than $50 million in federal and provincial funding to conduct COVID-19 related research.
VIDO-InterVac claims itself to be the first lab in Canada to isolate COVID-19 and also the country’s first lab to set up an animal model for testing therapeutics, antivirals and vaccines.