Innovation Saskatchewan is providing researchers at the University of Saskatchewan with $200,000 to help find a vaccine for COVID-19.
The university’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre is at the forefront of a global search, having previously worked on vaccines for SARS and the Zika virus. The Saskatoon lab is one of the few research facilities with regulatory approval to work on the new virus.
“Saskatchewan’s infectious disease researchers are among the best in the world and our government is proud to support their efforts in the development of a vaccine to protect against COVID-19,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan Tina Beaudry-Mellor says.
USask researchers are evaluating the safety and efficiency of potential vaccines and medications to reduce the ability of the virus to multiply. Both are key requirements for regulatory approval of new medicines. The team hopes to know within weeks whether an effective vaccine has been developed. If animal trials prove successful, clinical testing involving humans would take place as soon as possible.
“The Saskatchewan government is committed to providing innovators with the support to achieve results that impact people in our province and around the world,” Beaudry-Mellor said.
Collaborating with the World Health Organization and researchers in several countries, the Saskatoon team received a significant grant earlier this month from Canadian federal funding agencies - part of a $26.7-million rapid research initiative to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
“Support for this research is increasingly important as the disease continues to spread,” Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Volker Gerdts said. “This support will help in our worldwide efforts to develop a solution for this disease.”
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