Canada announces major steps in treating and preventing coronavirusChristian Fernsby ▼ | August 6, 2020
The Government of Canada is aggressively pursuing the purchase and development of coronavirus vaccines, treatments and related supplies to protect Canadians and is working to strengthen Canada's biomanufacturing sector.
Purchase Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Pfizer will supply its BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine candidate, while Moderna will provide its mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate. All potential vaccines will require Health Canada regulatory approval prior to being used to vaccinate Canadians. Active negotiations with other potential vaccine suppliers are also under way.
The Government is negotiating and signing agreements with a number of pharmaceutical companies to establish a guaranteed supply base of potential vaccine candidates.
PSPC is also procuring the equipment and supplies that will be needed to perform the final manufacturing and packaging stages of vaccine production in Canada, as well as the materials needed to support safe, efficient immunization such as syringes, needles, alcohol swabs and other supplies.
In addition, following the recommendation of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, Minister Navdeep Bains announced an investment of up to $56 million to support clinical trials for a coronavirus related vaccine candidate from Variation Biotechnologies Inc. (VBI) through the Strategic Innovation Fund.
VBI's project is in direct response to the global fight against coronavirus and contributes to Canada's ability to secure an effective vaccine. Other projects are still under consideration.
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (ISED), also announced the members of the coronavirus Therapeutics Task Force. The Therapeutics Task Force is providing expert advice to the Government on the development of coronavirus treatments, including how best to prioritize financial support for promising coronavirus treatment projects.
The Task Force includes experts drawn from research and industry who have a proven ability to develop and bring new therapies to market in Canada. The Therapeutics Task Force is co-chaired by Nancy Harrison, Director and Past Chair of LifeSciences BC, and Cédric Bisson, Partner at Teralys Capital.
From the beginning, the Government has worked across all departments and agencies to meet the challenges posed by coronavirus with the goal of protecting the health of all Canadians. Today, the Government also announced investments that will help support the development of and access to treatments for coronavirus, including:
- Support of more than $3 million for Nova Scotia-based IMV Inc. to advance clinical development of its vaccine candidate for the prevention of COVID-19 infection. This support is being provided with contributions from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program and the Next Generation Manufacturing Canada Supercluster.
- Support of more than $19 million in funding through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in collaboration with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), to leverage the expertise of researchers in the natural sciences and engineering and their partners across Canada to address this unprecedented crisis.
This investment will support 369 coronavirus research projects, including work related to vaccines.
The Vaccine Task Force and the Therapeutics Task Force are subject to extension at the discretion of the Government of Canada. Both task forces meet regularly as needed. ■