Tiasha Tabassum: The first Canadian clinical trials for a possible COVID-19 vaccine will be conducted by a Halifax research team that also was involved in trials that eventually led to a vaccine for the Ebola virus. The Halifax researchers will be collaborating with Chinese manufacturer CanSino Biologics. The Chinese team is already conducting human clinical trials for the vaccine.
Dr. Scotty Halperin, the center director said that the first trial phase is supposed to be underway within the next three weeks. “That would be something that Health Canada and the Canadian government would have to decide whether they wanted to do that. But it is certainly one of the options in the tool kit of things they can do to expedite the process if this or any other vaccine is looking promising, ” he said. Now the team is waiting for the final approval of the center’s research ethics board.
The first trial phase will include around 100 healthy volunteers and they will be under observation for six months. The research team wants to ensure the safety of the vaccine in young people first. Then they will proceed on to those who are at higher risk after getting satisfactory results from the previous volunteers. After vaccinating the volunteers they will be clinically monitored. They will undergo a series of blood tests and will record their own symptoms in a record book. The team said they will consider all types of symptoms that may or may not related to the vaccine. They want to get as much as possible information.
The researchers will quickly move to the second phase if the first phase shows a positive response. They might reduce the time span of the first phase then. However, there is still much work to be done before the trial vaccine could be approved for use. Previously this team was involved in various researches and one of them led to a vaccine for the Ebola virus.