A Canadian company has started tests for a prospective coronavirus vaccine. However, Dr Bruce Clark, president and CEO of the company Medicago, cautioned observers against high expectations about the product. He said: The writing exercise is: “Whatever vaccine we get in this first round — unless it’s a miracle — it’s not going to be perfect.”
“To assume that we can have, in 18 months, the solution to a pandemic that comes around once in a generation, is naive.”
Medicago’s first phase of clinical trials will test a plant-based product on 180 healthy men and women, aged 18 to 55.
The study which he’s partially blinded uses technology that does not involve animal products or live viruses like traditional methods. Clark said that the company uses the genetic sequence of a virus and leaving plants as the host.
The method is said to be faster and offers more consistent results than cell-based methods.
While it takes five to six months to propagate a virus in eggs, the plant-based technique requires just five to six weeks, he said.
“In a pandemic, something like COVID, if you’re able to cut that much time off development, you have a substantial impact on public health,” he said.
The company hopes to have results by October, and then start a trial with more than 1,000 people. later stages would involve 15,000 to 20,000.
The Quebec-based company is one the many that are currently searching a vaccine for the coronavirus. Specialists hope for a vaccine by the end of the year, but so far no study has been cleared to be used in large scale.
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