The University of Guelph says its researchers have received $230,000 from the Ontario government to develop a possible COVID-19 vaccine.
Pathobiology professor Byram Bridle believes the university’s work will be a leading candidate among the roughly 120 Canadian projects currently racing to come up with a vaccine amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Bridle said the Guelph team has shifted their focus away from vaccines as cancer therapies.
“We have been focused on cancer for years, but this collaboration shows the flexibility of technology we have at Guelph,” he said. “We can rapidly apply cancer technology and move it over to infectious disease.”
The team is expected to receive the one-year grant this week to test four vaccines already developed in the university’s labs.
They are also receiving support from the Department of Pathobiology, the Ontario Veterinary College and the university’s COVID-19 research development and catalyst fund.
Along with Bridle, nearly a dozen researchers are involved including Sarah Wootton and Leo Susta who are co-principal investigators.
After eight months of testing at the U of G, the top two vaccine candidates out of the four will then be sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for further testing.
Bridle said he hopes to see a viable vaccine based on their technology ready for Health Canada approval in 2021 with the hopes of fast-tracking the release to the public.
The province announced on Thursday that it was committing $20 million for research to help combat the virus.
“Ontario is leading the nation in the battle to defeat this deadly virus,” Premier Doug Ford said. “We have some of the most incredible researchers and innovators anywhere in the world right here in the province.”