A laboratory in Saskatoon that examines infectious diseases only wants to become the second in Canada to be able to work on the most serious and contagious diseases.
The VIDO laboratory in Saskatoon, which currently operates as a restriction level two and level three research facility, wants to upgrade the facility to restriction level four.
To move VIDO to restriction level four, Canada will provide its second such facility – one currently housed at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. Restriction level four facilities deal with the most serious and contagious diseases.
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Dr. Volker Gerdts, head of VIDO, said it was one of three critical elements for the research facility to become the country’s center for pandemic research.
“This alone will double Canada’s capacity level for research and will help the country be better prepared for any future emerging disease,” Gerdts told a Saskatoon city committee on Monday.
The other elements are the construction of a vaccine manufacturing facility on the University of Saskatchewan campus and a new animal facility.
“This will enable us to house exotic species that we often see as a leap in humans, and bats are a good example of such species,” Gerdts said.
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Online community consultations will take place over three days from January 27, Gerdts said.
The consultation enables people to ask questions and comment.
COVID-19 Vaccine Research
Progress continues at VIDO with its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The lab has received approval from the federal government to continue a booster study.
Gerdts said it involves using VIDO’s vaccine in volunteers who have already received a vaccine authorized by the Canadian government.
“We all think we’ll probably need annual amplifiers to move forward,” he said.
“And so it’s one of the uses of VIDO’s vaccine as a booster for some of these already authorized vaccines.”
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VIDO is also continuing a major clinical trial in Uganda.
If successful, Gerdts said it would make VIDO’s vaccine available in countries that do not currently have access to vaccines.
“Uganda, for example, has about 10 percent vaccination rate. There are many other countries in Africa where the rates are even lower,” he said.
“We are working with international organizations, including CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness, the largest organization for these emerging diseases, to make our vaccine available to low- and middle-income countries around the world so that people have access to this technology. what has been developed here. ”
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