VIDO’s director says it could have been a different story if they already had a vaccine manufacturing facility when the pandemic began.
Dr. Volker Gerdts says construction is expected to be done by the end of September for an in-house pilot-scale manufacturing facility at VIDO on the University of Saskatchewan campus.
They began working on a vaccine last January and by mid-February already had a candidate for animal trials.
They proved it worked by May and at that point could have begun developing clinical grade vaccines for human trials which could then potentially have begun last summer.
He suggests once the manufacturing facility is up and running, in an emergency situation like a pandemic, they could make 20 to 40-million doses a year.
Dr. Gerdts says Canada doesn’t have much manufacturing capacity right now, so this new building will mean more research can move to the development phase. He explains that often scientific research doesn’t make it to the development phase because there aren’t enough facilities to do publicly funded projects.
Gerdts believes there is a huge gap right now which VIDO can help fill for manufacturing vaccines for humans and animals for clinical trials.
He adds that the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization is one of the few facilities in the world that in the future will have vaccine manufacturing capability for both human and animal diseases, working with Level 3 pathogens that need a higher level of containment.
It means more opportunity for researchers around the world to manufacture what is needed for their clinical trials.