Canada’s first coronavirus vaccine is already in the testing stage.
The University of Saskatchewan research team — who have been diligently working on a coronavirus vaccine since January 2020 — revealed that they are now testing vaccines on animals.
Animal models enable scientists to understand how a virus causes disease and is transmitted.
Director of VIDO-InterVac Dr. Volker Gerdts said, “The global race is on to find out which is the best animal model for replicating the disease observed in humans. Is it mice, hamsters, or ferrets?”
“Whichever model works best is the one we’re going to use.”
The team is hedging their bets on chickens and pigs — although ferrets were used during the SARS outbreak and are considered to be “the gold standard” for respiratory infection modelling.
And the University of Saskatchewan isn’t the only team making breakthroughs — a team of researchers from Sunnybrook, McMaster and the University of Toronto have also made a major discovery.
On Thursday, the research team announced that they managed to isolate the COVID-19 virus.
Isolating the virus will help researchers across Canada and the world develop treatments and vaccines, and gain a better understanding of coronavirus’s biology, evolution and clinical shedding.
Unfortunately, Canada’s top doctors have confirmed that a vaccine is still at least 18 months away.
Speaking to Global News, David Kelvin, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Dalhousie University, said, “It might happen sooner but I think that’s unrealistic.”
“Eighteen months to two years would be really fantastic if we achieved that target.”
Still, Canadians can take comfort in the fact that about 20 potential coronavirus vaccines are being developed by research institutes and drugmakers around the world.
With two pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. getting close to human testing, it seems that a vaccine might be developed sooner than expected.