Saskatoon’s VIDO Gearing Up To Generate Vaccines for Canada

Dr. Volker Gerdts says their COVID-19 vaccine has a number of advantages over other vaccines: it doesn’t require ultra low freezers, it’s easier to store, it has better stability, better safety record, and he suggests probably works better even with the COVID-19 variants.

The Director of VIDO, the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan, says from everything they are seeing they have a great vaccine so far.

Dr. Gerdts says they are hoping for fall of this year, maybe late summer, to get to Phase 3 and it all depends on how the vaccination of Canadians rolls out.

“You know, Phase 3 is really testing the vaccine out in the field now to see how well it performs and of course that will be influenced by how much disease is out there. And so if everybody gets vaccinated by September we might have to go to another country to run those trials.”

The vaccine will actually go into the arms of the 108 candidates in the Phase 1 clinical trial next week.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday told Canadians Saskatoon based VIDO could produce 40 million doses of vaccine. The manufacturing facility being built at the University of Saskatchewan is expected to be finished by September and commissioned to generate vaccine in 2022.

Dr. Gerdts says while they can’t produce the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines because they are RNA based, they could, once the facility is finished, produce their own, or if approved, the AstraZeneca as well as Novavax vaccines.

He also points out that the manufacturing facility will be primarily intended to support clinical trials for human and animal vaccines being developed at VIDO.


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