'We are excited by these results': Saskatoon lab plans human trials after potential COVID-19 vaccine shows promise in animal tests
Published Monday, May 25, 2020 11:09AM CST Last Updated Thursday, June 3, 2021 1:21PM CST
Alyson Kelvin, who is working on different coronavirus solutions, stands for a photo at her University of Saskatchewan lab inside VIDO-InterVac in Saskatoon, Friday, March 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
SASKATOON -- After showing promising results in animals, human clinical trials for a Saskatoon research lab's potential COVID-19 vaccine could begin as early as this fall.
In a news release, the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), said the vaccine proved "highly effective" in ferrets, animals which are widely used for COVID-19 modelling.
"Proving that the vaccine is effective in ferrets is a key milestone in the development pathway," VIDO-InterVac director Dr. Volker Gerdts said in the release.
During the trial, the vaccine decreased viral infection in the animals' upper respiratory tract to "almost undetectable levels."
More trials are planned for the coming months, which will include safety studies that could clear the way for human clinical trials this fall.
As the lab's vaccine research continues VIDO-InterVac is also in the process of readying a vaccine manufacturing facility.
“We are excited by these results and are continuing to develop our vaccine towards regulatory approval,” project leader Dr. Darryl Falzarano said.
The University of Saskatchewan-based lab received a $23 million cash infusion from the federal government for its COVID-19 research in March.