Researchers developing new COVID-19 vaccines holding clinical trials in Halifax
HALIFAX -- Although there are only two vaccines currently approved for use by Health Canada at this time, researchers are hard at work developing other potential vaccines, including clinical trials in Halifax for two different COVID-19 vaccines.
"One of them is a virus like particle vaccine that is from Medicago and the other is a protein based vaccine from VIDO Intervac in Saskatchewan," said Dr. Joanne Langley, a pediatric disease specialist and vaccine researcher.
The clinical trials are taking place at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at the IWK Health Centre.
The goal is to develop a safe and effective vaccine.
"We test it very carefully at different doses," Langley said. "We start at a smaller dose and go up to a medium and a larger dose. We look at different schedules, one or two doses. We test it in different age groups."
Langley says researchers are enthusiastic about the ability to advance Canadian science and Canadian vaccines.
"Some folks say, well, why are we developing Canadian vaccines now when we need vaccines now? We want the finished product now. I think the answer to that isfirst of all, we don't know how long COVID-19 will be a threat to humanity; there's different paths it could take," Langley said. "It might go away, it doesn't look like that's going to be the case. It might become more attenuated and only some people might need the vaccine year after year. But it could become part of our regular exposure to the viruses, just like influenza and in that case, we're going to need vaccines for some time to come."
There are 10 active cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. One new case was identified today. It's in the Central zone and related to a previously reported case. Although our case numbers remain low. The province's top doctor says now is not the time to become complacent.
"We must continue to be cautious, deliberate and vigilant. We must continue to limit how and when we get together in larger numbers, even as we protect our borders and make testing part of our norm," Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health.
As for the clinical trials happening in Halifax, researchers say they are still looking for volunteers.
Canada has purchase agreements for seven vaccines. Two of them, Moderna and Pfizer, are being rolled out across the country, but five other vaccines may become available in the coming months or years.