TORONTO – China’s CanSino Biologics Inc, the company behind one of the few candidates for the coronavirus vaccine already in clinical trials, is working with the Canadian National Research Council to pave the way for future trials in Canada, the research council said Tuesday.
The NRC said it would scale up a manufacturing process for CanSino’s vaccine candidate in a Montreal government agency and that CanSino was preparing a clinical trial application for Health Canada, the country’s drug regulator.
The CanSino vaccine is in early trials and there is no way of knowing if it will work. But if so, the collaboration can help Canadians have access to it. Local trial data can reassure Health Canada that the vaccine is safe, and local production may ensure that certain doses are available.
A vaccine that protects people against the coronavirus can eventually end the pandemic, but finding a vaccine that works and produces enough doses is a huge challenge.
The CanSino vaccine is produced using a cell line developed at the NRC, the agency said, and the two organizations have been working together since 2013. The company used the same cell line to develop an Ebola vaccine.
NRC and Health Canada did not immediately respond to questions about whether the collaboration would allow Health Canada to consider research data collected in China in the final evaluation of the vaccine.
Hong Kong-based Tianjin-based CanSino shares rose on April 26 after the company said Health Canada agreed to discuss a clinical trial application.