Saskatoon’s VIDO-Intervac and Zyus Life Sciences mark major milestone in COVID-19 vaccine research

A Saskatoon-based company has reached a milestone in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine with pre-clinical trials to begin early this fall.

The CEO of Zyus Life Sciences says researchers have formulated a plant-based protein or antigen that mimics the virus, and the hope is that it will be successful in preventing illness from COVID-19.

Brent Zettl says the milestones is that Zyus has proved the concept that a plant-based, rather than animal-based antigen can work, and that they have been successful in being able to engineer plants to produce the protein, then extract it.

He explains that they tested and demonstrated that the plant-based protein is recognized by antibodies in the serum of recovered COVID-19 patients, which suggests this protein in a vaccine could provide protection from the virus.

The benefit for a plant-based vaccine, Zettl says, is that there could be a quick ramp up to a large quantity of the vaccine and unlike animal-based vaccines, the protein is produced without deviation over time.

Zyus is collaborating with Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre, or VIDO-Intervac.

After the pre-clinical trials in the fall, pending the results, the research could move to human trials.


More from 620 CKRM