That platform has been used to develop other vaccines, including for a hepatitis B vaccine.
Dr. Francisco Diaz-Mitoma, formerly a scientist at CHEO and professor at uOttawa, who founded the company and is now chief medical officer, said it is one of three related vaccines that the company is working on, with financial support from the federal government and CEPI, the global partnership to develop vaccines and help the world be better prepared for pandemics.
The vaccine candidate that is in clinical trials in Ottawa and elsewhere covers the initial Wuhan variant of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The company is also working on a vaccine that covers the South African strain of the virus and a multivalent vaccine, that could provide protection against many different viruses or strains.
Diaz-Mitoma said there is a need for many different COVID-19 vaccines. “We will find a niche where our vaccine will be answering a specific unmet medical need.”
The vaccine candidate being tested in Ottawa could be updated, he said, to cover the South African variant. The need to have vaccines that address new and future variants and strains is crucial, he said.
VBI is working with the National Research Council and others looking into producing vaccines in Canada.
“We will need to make larger investments (in vaccine production),” he said. “We don’t want to be in the situation we are in now.”
Individuals who participate in the trial will be randomized to receive doses of the experimental vaccine or a placebo. Neither participants nor the study team will know which group is which until the end. The study will evaluate safety, tolerability and immune response.
Ottawa residents who are interested can contact The Ottawa Hospital’s clinical investigations unit at 613-737-8811 of [email protected] for more information.
This content was originally published here.