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Saskatchewan researchers building COVID vaccine production facility

DCN-JOC News Services
Saskatchewan researchers building COVID vaccine production facility
UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN — Dr. Volker Gerdt (pictured) is the director of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan. The group is currently constructing a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing facility as it tests several vaccines its team has been developing.

REGINA — As the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan works to develop a new vaccine to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, work has already begun on a manufacturing facility that could produce the doses.

VIDO has begun work on the facility with both provincial and federal government funding.

According to VIDO, the manufacturing facility could produce up to 40 million vaccine doses per year depending on the production efficiencies of specific vaccines. Construction is expected to be complete in late 2021, with vaccine production for facility certification planned for 2022.

Earlier this month, the first volunteers were picked for a vaccine trial of COVAC-2, VIDO’s vaccine. COVAC-2 is the first of VIDO’s two subunit vaccines to enter clinical testing.

VIDO officials explained subunit vaccines contain purified viral proteins that are not infectious, and the technology is used in several commercially available vaccines. This vaccine will not require ultra-cold storage like vaccines that contain RNA or mRNA. 

“We are excited to start clinical trials,” said VIDO director Dr. Volker Gerdts in a statement. “Our team has worked hard to advance the development of this vaccine to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

The trial was crafted as a combined Phase 1/Phase 2 study. Phase 1 will vaccinate 108 healthy volunteers in a placebo-controlled study at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology in Halifax. Two doses will be administered to each volunteer 28 days apart. Participants will be monitored for a year.

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