Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) is racing the clock to find a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.
VIDO-InterVachas announced that their researchers have successfully grown the virus in a cell culture and are now testing a new vaccine in animals.
VIDO-InterVac has collaborated with a number of labs across the world, including the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
Dr. Volker Gerdts (DVM), director and CEO of VIDO-InterVac said VIDO-InterVac is one of only a handful of labs in the world that currently has been able to isolate the virus—is taking a leading role in the global fight against coronavirus.
Gerdts said, “We are one of the few facilities approved to work with it. There are a lot of labs and a lot of people with ideas, but there are only a few labs like ours that can actually do the work. VIDO-InterVac is one of the largest Level 3 high-containment facilities in the world. There are four pathogen levels, and SARS-CoV-2 requires Level 3 containment.”
By early April, the researchers will know whether the vaccine generated at VIDO-InterVac is successful in protecting against the infection. Dr. Volker Gerdts said that it would likely take another six months of testing, development and manufacturing before the vaccine would be ready to go into clinical testing.
Innovation Saskatchewan has provided researchers with $200,000 to help find a vaccine for COVID-19 and they were the recipients of a part of the $26.7-million rapid research initiativeby the government of Canada to contain the coronavirus outbreak.