Canadian Vaccine Candidates | Ottawa did not provide adequate funding when the epidemic began, developers say

(Ottawa) Two vaccine developers in Canada claim that domestic production is not as fast as international versions due to a lack of federal funding at the onset of the epidemic.


The Canadian Press

Nearly 1.1 million Canadians now receive a single dose of the Pfizer-Bioentech or Modern vaccine.

With Pfizer-Bioendech distribution now exceeding 400,000 per week, Canadian provinces and territories have vaccinated more than 170,000 people since Friday. Canada has had its best day since the vaccination campaign began on Saturday, with 49,707 people vaccinated.

But by comparison, 400,000 people are vaccinated a day in the UK, up from an average of more than 1.7 million a day in the US last week. Germany vaccinated about 140,000 people on Sunday.

All three countries have invested heavily in the development of national vaccines. Their ability to make doses at home helped them get vaccinated very quickly.

John Lewis, CEO of Endos Pharmaceuticals in Alberta, says Canada’s investments are scary.

“If you look at the success around the world, I think it’s very clear that the final and immediate sponsorship of many vaccine candidates is critical to their success and speed,” he told the Health Committee before the House Standing on Monday.

According to Lewis, Canada has “taken a prudent, risk-free, team-based approach to decision-making, resulting in relatively small, scattered funds for Canadian companies to develop a national vaccine.”

Canada buys at least 238 million doses of seven different vaccines, but only one came from the Canadian company Medicago, at least initially nothing was made in Canada. Only the Quebec pharmaceutical company Medicaco has direct Canadian support for clinical trials.

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Many Canadian candidates are running

Dr. Alan Bernstein, a member of the Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Working Group and head of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research, told the team that the task force is compelled to find the best vaccine candidates. Support.

Photo by Marco Campanosi, archiving the press

Alan Bernstein

The working group has reviewed Dr. Bernstein’s 24 Canadian vaccination programs, but only three have already made significant progress on significant investments.

Medicago 3 received 173 million from Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund in October, Precision Nano Systems 18 million and Variation Biotechnologies 56 million in August. Medico is the only vaccine available in clinical trials.

Although six more were recommended for funding from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Dr. Bernstein explained that most of the other projects were at the beginning of the process.

All six, including Endos, received up to $ 5 million each from the NRC in October.

The endoscopy vaccine sought help in early March, almost a year later and is now set to begin phase 1 trials.

“I wish we had gotten the initial funding in the beginning […] We will now be well in the saddle in the 3rd phase towards homosexuality, ”he said.

A stagnant plan for a funding shortfall

Dr. Gary Gobinger, a microbiologist at Laval University who was part of the Canadian team that helped develop vaccines against Ebola and Zika, says his nonprofit had a vaccine last February with the best initial results laboratory, but the project was discontinued because “we did not have the funds.”

Photo by Matthew Belinger, Press Archives

Gary Copinger

When he first applied for funding, he was told there was not enough initial data to continue the vaccine. Dr. Gobinger said they soon returned with preliminary data against one of the two MRNA vaccines currently in use in Canada.

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“We have been told it is too late because the MRNA vaccines are working and no further vaccinations are needed,” he testified.

According to Lewis, it takes at least 350 to 600 million to get a vaccine to the approved level through multi-stage clinical trials.

Last April, Canada set aside $ 600 million over two years to develop the COVID-19 vaccine. Part of that investment went to Medico, VBI and Precision Funds.

Elsewhere in the world

In the United States, Operation Warp Speed ​​released $ 10 billion in May for vaccine development, in addition to the hundreds of millions already invested in companies such as Johnson & Johnson & Modern. Since then the budget has grown to US $ 18 billion.

In May, the UK set up a vaccine task force that invested more than $ 500 million in vaccine research and then more than $ 116 million to improve AstraZeneca’s vaccine. England also moved the mountains to produce on English soil.

Germany has invested $ 445 million in Bioentech, a German company that has partnered with Pfizer to make Bioentech’s MRNA vaccine commercially viable. Germany has invested nearly $ 300 million in another German company, Querweck, whose vaccine is now in its 3rd phase of testing.

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