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Canada announces vital initiatives to procure vaccines, therapies to prevent COVID-19

Canada announces vital initiatives to procure vaccines, therapies to prevent COVID-19

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 06 Aug 2020, 11:43 pm

Ottawa/IBNS: Anita Anand, Canada's Public Services and Procurement Minister has announced during a news conference in Toronto that the Government of Canada has entered into agreements with Pfizer and Moderna to secure millions of doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines.

Anand said the announcement marks "an important step forward" to ensure Canadians are "at the front of the line" when a vaccine is approved. 

Pfizer, a biopharmaceutical company is involved in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including medicines and vaccines, while Moderna, a biotechnology company focuses on the discovery and development of medicines and vaccines made of messenger RNA, said a news release.

Pfizer would supply Canada with 's BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine candidate, while Moderna will provide its mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate to Health Canada, said Anand In the news release.

Health Canada would be subject to regulatory approval prior to administering the vaccines to Canadians.

“Canada has flattened the curve, but COVID-19 remains dangerous without a vaccine. Over the last months, our government has been investing to fight this virus. We have been committing important funding toward research and preparedness to develop a vaccine and treatments. Today’s announcements will build on the work already started to support COVID-19 research in Canada and will give us more chances of having a vaccine and treatments,” said Canada's Health Minister, Patty Hajdu in the news release.

Public Services and Procurement Canada is also procuring equipment and supplies required to manufacture the vaccine in Canada as well as other supplies to ensure safe immunization such as syringes, alcohol swabs and gauze. 

The development of a vaccine, which normally takes years or decades, is being speeded up by scientific communities around the world.

Several measures being taken by the Government of Canada to secure a future supply of COVID-19 vaccine and therapies were announced by Canada's Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Anand in a news release.

Bains also unveiled in the news release members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, which provides scientific and technical advice to the government on a portfolio of leading international vaccine candidates.

Following the recommendation of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force,  Bains announced an investment of up to $56 million in the news release to support clinical trials for a COVID-related vaccine candidate from Variation Biotechnologies Inc. (VBI) through the Strategic Innovation Fund to facilitate Canada’s ability to secure an effective vaccine.

This investment is funded from the Government’s $600 million to support COVID-19–related vaccine and therapy clinical trials, the news release added.

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)

(Image Credit: Anita Anand Twitter Handle)