Outsourcing Manufacturing Slows Vaccine Development

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Farmscape for February 12, 2021

Full Interview 8:27 Listen

The Director and CEO of VIDO-InterVac says the biggest challenge in developing its new protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine has been the need to have the manufacturing of the materials for testing carried out at other facilities. The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan has completed all of the required safety testing of its new protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine with animals, just before Christmas it received approval from Health Canada to begin a combined phase-1, phase-2 human clinical trial and phase-1 is now underway. Dr. Volker Gerdts, the Director and CEO of VIDO-InterVac, says while VIDO is in the process of building a new manufacturing facility capable of producing the volumes of vaccine needed to conduct animal and human safety and efficacy testing, that facility is not yet on line.

Clip-Dr. Volker Gerdts-VIDO-InterVac:
I think for us here at VIDO the biggest challenge has been that our vaccine manufacturing facility is not up and running at the moment which then required us to go outside of our organization and get the vaccine manufactured at other places. That always takes longer than if we could have done the work here. It’s challenging when you are trying to be as fast as possible and, at the same time, rely on other companies and their schedules in making your materials. As we discussed the manufacturing facility is coming along and we’re very excited about that. The fact that clinical trials have begun I think is possible only because of the investment from both the provincial government as well as the federal government so it’s important for us to acknowledge that support.

Dr. Gerdts says the goal is to have the phase-1 and phase-2 human trails take place in the spring of this year. He says as soon as the data is there and looks promising preparations will begin for the phase-3 trials which involves taking the vaccine out into the field to see how well it performs in the field.
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Bruce Cochrane.

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