SASKATOON -- The province is providing researchers at the University of Saskatchewan with $200,000 to help find a vaccine for COVID-19.

The university’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) is part of a global search effort and is one of the few research facilities with approval to work on the virus.

The Saskatoon lab has previously worked on vaccines for SARS and the Zika virus.

“Saskatchewan’s infectious disease researchers are among the best in the world and our government is proud to support their efforts in the development of a vaccine to protect against COVID-19,” said Tina Beaudry-Mellor, the minister responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan.

Researchers with VIDO-InterVac have developed several vaccines and are moving into animal testing this week to evaluate whether they are safe and efficient.

If animal trials are successful, clinical testing involving people would take place as soon as possible.

Earlier this month, VIDO-InterVac, along with the World Health Organization and researchers in several countries, received part of a $26.7 million rapid research initiative to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

“Support for this research is increasingly important as the disease continues to spread. This support will help in our worldwide efforts to develop a solution for this disease,” said Volker Gerdts, VIDO-InterVac CEO.