Dr. Volker Gerdts’ focus right now is on vaccine development for COVID-19.
The CEO and director of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon researches diseases in humans and animals.
Gerdts and his team at VIDO started researching COVID-19 in January 2020 on the day the World Health Organization announced there was a new disease spreading in China.
Read more: Shaping Saskatchewan — Black in Saskatchewan
He says he is proud of what he and his team have accomplished since then, especially as they compete against companies with billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of employees.
“And still, we are competing with them. We’re trying to develop vaccines that are even better than theirs,” Gerdts said.
“We’re a small organization compared to them, but we have the advantage of being quick and nimble, and have an excellent team of researchers here.”
Phase 1 of clinical trials began in Halifax in February. There are 108 volunteers taking part in the COVAC-2 trial.
Gerdts says the subunit vaccine employs technology already used in vaccines for hepatitis, diphtheria, and whooping cough.
VIDO has previously developed vaccines for other coronavirus infections like SARS.
You can catch the full interview with Gerdts on Shaping Saskatchewan, which airs Fridays at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Global Regina and Saskatoon.