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VIDO-InterVac shifts focus to hamsters in efforts to create COVID-19 vaccine

VIDO-InterVac shifts focus to hamsters in efforts to create COVID-19 vaccine
WATCH: CEO Dr. Volker Gerdts says VIDO-InterVac is now focusing on comparing the results in hamsters after demonstrating the vaccine's efficacy in ferrets.

Canada’s top pandemic laboratory is continuing its efforts to create a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

After demonstrating the vaccine’s efficacy in ferrets, VIDO-InterVac is now focusing on comparing the results in hamsters.

“This provides us more confidence in our results and allows us to start testing the safety of the vaccine and that is critical,” said Dr. Volker Gerdts, VIDO-InterVac CEO.

Read more: Coronavirus: USask researchers expect human clinical trials for vaccine in the fall

This second model will allow the researchers to test the safety of the vaccine before they can begin human trials.

“Safety testing is going to continue for the next few weeks and that is to make sure then when we go into human testing our vaccine is completely safe,” Gerdts said.

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“In the meantime, what we’re doing now is producing the vaccine, clinical-grade material that we can use for human trials starting in the fall.”

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VIDO-InterVac is using a protein called subunit which is currently being used in a number of vaccines for humans.

Read more: Conspiracies are spreading over coronavirus vaccines before one even exists

“One of the advantages is, when you have this vaccine eventually ready, it can be manufactured in very large scales so we can make hundreds of millions of those very rapidly,” Gerdts said.

VIDO-InterVac has received about $50 million from the Saskatchewan and Canadian governments over the past few months in efforts to find a vaccine.

Based out of the University of Saskatchewan, VIDO-InterVac was the first lab in Canada to isolate the novel coronavirus and create an animal model where the virus could be handled and a vaccine could be tested.

VIDO-InterVac is also assisting other companies across the globe working on their own vaccine developments.

Update on VIDO-InterVac ferret testing
Update on VIDO-InterVac ferret testing