Ottawa commits $23M to VIDO-InterVac to ramp up research on COVID-19

The internationally renowned VIDIO-InterVac is getting $23 million from Ottawa.

Half of money headed to pilot-scale manufacturing facility to accelerate vaccine development

Scientists at VIDO-InterVac recently developed a vaccine for a strain of coronavirus that killed 10 million pigs in North America. (Bonnie Allen/CBC)

Ottawa is giving $23 million to VIDO-InterVac in Saskatoon.

The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre is based at the University of Saskatchewan.

Half of the money is earmarked to build a pilot-scale manufacturing plant on campus to accelerate vaccine development.

"The $12 million enables us to build the facility to good manufacturing practices standards as required for human vaccine production," said VIDO-InterVac director Volker Gerdts.

"We expect to begin vaccine production in a little more than a year."

There is currently no vaccine for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

VIDO-InterVac is the first lab in the country to have a vaccine candidate in animal testing.

The vaccine was made in February, and researchers expect to know in about four weeks whether the vaccine works in an animal model. Clinical testing of this vaccine in humans could start as early as this fall.

The balance of the money will go to operational funding for high-containment laboratories.

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