Saskatoon

University of Saskatchewan COVID-19 vaccine approved for human clinical trials

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) is headed for human clinical trials.

Trials set to begin in January

The VIDO-InterVac facility is home to one of Canada's only research facilities with a Level 3 containment lab. (Matthew Garand/CBC)

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) is headed for human clinical trials.

Health Canada approved VIDO's vaccine for the trials last week.

Now, the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology in Halifax can recruit volunteers to test the vaccine. Those trials are set to begin in January.

VIDO said this particular dose is called a subunit vaccine.

"Subunit-based vaccines are a proven technology that has been used in many commercially available vaccines — including for hepatitis, diphtheria, and whooping cough — with an excellent safety profile," said a VIDO news release.

VIDO said the benefit to this type of vaccine is it doesn't require ultra cold storage temperatures. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is currently being used in Saskatchewan, needs to be stored in ultra-low temperature freezers at -70 C.

The Saskatchewan government said 1,786 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had been administered to health-care workers in the province as of Dec. 23.

If all goes well with the human clinical trials, VIDO's vaccine could be ready for public use by late 2021.

VIDO said it's also in the process of developing a second COVID-19 vaccine.

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