'The good news we've just heard': Trudeau says Sask. lab could produce 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine a year
SASKATOON -- While unveiling a deal with a U.S. pharmaceutical firm to produce doses of its vaccine at a Montreal facility, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also highlighted how work underway at a Saskatoon research lab would increase Canada's domestic vaccine production capability.
"We need as much domestic capacity for vaccine production as possible," Trudeau said during a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, pointing to $46 million previously earmarked by the federal government for the University of Saskatchewan-based Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac).
"The good news we've just heard is that VIDO-InterVac now projects they will be able to produce up to 40 million doses annually," Trudeau said.
VIDO-InterVac is at work on its own vaccine candidate, which entered human trials in January. The lab's director and CEO Dr. Volker Gerdts previously told CTV News that its manufacturing facility could be up and running by early next year.
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Trudeau highlighted the lab while announcing an agreement with Novavax to produce its COVID-19 vaccine at a National Research Council (NRC) facility that is under construction in Montreal. The facility would produce around two million doses a month.
The Maryland-based firm's vaccine candidate is awaiting Health Canada approval, along with candidates from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
The NRC manufacturing facility is expected to be completed in July.