Canadian company, Medicago, says it has produced a”viable vaccine candidate” for treating the novel Covid-19.
Using innovative, plant-based technology, the biopharmaceutical company has produced a vaccine candidate within 20 days of receiving the gene responsible for causing the COVID-19 disease. [Featured image courtesy of Medicago]
Medicago, a subsidy of Japanese Pharma company Mistubishi Chemical, has announced in a press release that it has “successfully produced a Virus-Like Particle (VLP) of the coronavirus.” So what exactly does this mean?
Well, for starters, the development of a VLP is “the first step in developing a vaccine for COVID-19.” The company will now submit the vaccine candidate for testing and, if approved, the vaccine is expected to be ready for human testing by this summer.
Medicago is working closely with the Laval University’s Infectious Disease Research Centre under Dr. Gary Kobinger—credited for playing a key role in the development of a vaccine and treatment for Ebola—to develop a treatment to combat the contagious Coronavirus.
Their collaboration is concentrated on developing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 gene (the gene they believe is responsible for the Covid-19 illness) to eventually treat affected patients effectively.
“The collaborative efforts established between the research team at Laval University and Medicago have been very successful in developing unique antibodies against infectious diseases such as RSV and HMPV and that experience gives us confidence for successful identification of therapeutic antibodies against SARS-CoV-2,” said Dr. Kobinger.
Medicago uses VLPs to simulate the shape and form of viruses. This “allows the body to recognize them and create an immune response in non-infectious way.” The company based in Quebec does not use animal products or live viruses.
The announcement of their feat arrives on the heels of news from a vaccine center in Saskatchewan. On March 9, the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre announced that they had developed a vaccine which are now being tested for safety and efficiency. There is currently no word as to when this vaccine would be ready for human testing.
That said, there are nearly 10 vaccine candidates currently in the works.
While universities, research, and vaccine centers around the world are testing, collaborating, and developing vaccine candidates, health officials are saying that the production of a vaccine will likely “take a year to 18 months.”
In the meantime, Ontario is opening screening centres across the province. Additionally, they’ve approved new physician billing codes allowing doctors to speak with patients over the phone, created a website that they update at least twice daily with the latest information about the virus, and are working on implementing at-home testing.