VIDO-InterVac receives $23.3M from feds in fight against COVID-19

The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) is receiving $23.3 million in federal funding in the fight against COVID-19.

With $11.3 million, officials said the Saskatoon research facility will be able to strengthen its existing expertise in coronavirus research and to help develop a vaccine for COVID-19. An additional $12 million aims to help VIDO-InterVac expand its bio-manufacturing capacity to support clinical trials.

“The $12 million enables us to build the facility to Good Manufacturing Practices standards as required for human vaccine production,” VIDO-InterVac director Volker Gerdts said in press release. “We expect to begin vaccine production in a little more than a year.”

“InterVac is part of the national and global response to emerging disease threats such as COVID-19 in humans and African swine fever in animals.”

Currently, there is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

VIDO-InterVac was the first lab in the country to isolate the virus five weeks ago and made it available to federal and provincial laboratories.

The Saskatoon lab is the first lab in the country to have a vaccine candidate in animal testing, according to VIDO-InterVac. The vaccine was made in February, and researchers expect to know in about four weeks whether the vaccine works in an animal model.

Officials said clinical testing of this vaccine in humans could start as early as this fall.

VIDO-InterVac is constructing a pilot-scale manufacturing facility on University of Saskatchewan campus to accelerate vaccine development.

The federal government detailed companies getting $275 million on Monday as part of its previously-announced $1-billion COVID19 response fund.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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