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Locally developed vaccine headed for trial at the Ottawa Hospital

An infectious disease specialist and site lead at the hospital says despite multiple approved vaccines, it's important to continue developing more to ensure everyone has access. 
20200926_ottawa hospital
The Ottawa Hospital. (Photo/Dani-Elle Dubé)

The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) is looking for volunteers willing to roll up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine trial.

The potential vaccine was developed in conjunction with hospital and VBI Vaccines Inc., a biotechnology company with Ottawa-based research and development facilities.

VBI was founded in Ottawa by Dr. Francisco Diaz-Mitoma, a former CHEO scientist and professor at the University of Ottawa. Currently, Dr. Diaz-Mitoma is the chief medical officer at VBI.

This vaccine candidate contains the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine particles mimic the natural presentation of viruses, but contain no infectious genetic material and cannot replicate.

The first phase of the trial is slated to include 60 healthy adults, ages 18 to 54, while the second phase could expand to participants, everyone 18 and up.

TOH is one of nine sites across Canada enrolling participates and is led by Dr. Bill Cameron and Dr. Michaeline McGuinty.

Dr. McGuinty, an infectious disease specialist and clinician investigator at The Ottawa Hospital, feels despite multiple approved vaccines, it's important to continue developing more to ensure everyone can have access.

"Given that viruses like this one change over time, it's really important to develop as many platforms as possible so that we know which ones will respond best," Dr. McGuinty explains in an interview with CityNews.

Those interested in participating in the trial can contact the TOH Clinical Investigation Unit at 613-737-8811. 

More information on the trial is available here

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