Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains announced that Canadian companies are aiming to launch clinical trials as early as this summer for a Canadian COVID-19 vaccine.
"Fortunately, our country's research community is among the strongest in the world. Canadian labs discovered the Ebola vaccine, and were the first in the world to sequence the DNA for the SARS virus," said Bains, nothing that which could prove crucial in a vaccine's development.
In 2018, Bains said, Canada invested large amounts in fundamental sciences that are now playing a major role in the way Canada fights the coronavirus. "We've identified several projects for investment," said Bains. "The University of Saskatchewan's international vaccine centre... is one of the world's most advanced infectious disease facilities."
The federal government will be granting $23 million for a Saskatchewan lab to develop human vaccines for animal-based viruses such as the coronavirus, which has suspected origins in bats, snakes, or pangolins.
The federal government will prioritize direct support to large scale projects like Vancouver's Accerla Pharma, and Quebec City's Medicago.
Medicago has already identified plant-based potential vaccine, and will be accelerating clinical trials and production.
Accelera will use its rapid pandemic response platform to shorten the timeline of the vaccine without cutting corners. "The aim is to begin clinical trials this summer," said Bains.
The government has also signed contracts with BlueDot, a Toronto-based digital health firm that uses AI to help trace the spread of coronavirus. The firm has been a major player in correctly tracking the spread of disease through air travel.
"We want to act as quickly as possible to help our healthcare system and healthcare workers. With the measures announced today... We will do exactly that."