Trudeau announces new plan for made-in-Canada COVID-19 vaccine

OTTAWA, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an additional 214 million Canadian dollars (about 163 million U.S. dollars) on made-in-Canada vaccines on Friday when the country's COVID-19 cases surpassed 210,000.

The additional fund included up to 173 million Canadian dollars for the Quebec biopharmaceutical Medicago Inc., including support to create a production facility in Quebec City.

The Trudeau government has signed an agreement with the Quebec company to supply up to 76 million doses of its vaccine once it is approved for use.

"This is about securing potential vaccines for Canadians while supporting good jobs in research," Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa.

Medicago is developing the vaccine in partnership with the British drug company GlaxoSmithKline. The two companies said its pre-clinical results show the vaccine demonstrated a "high level of neutralizing antibodies following a single dose."

If the vaccine also performs well in a clinical setting, the companies are on track to make it available in the first half of 2021. Medicago has said it has the manufacturing capacity to produce as many as 100 million doses in 2021.

Trudeau also announced that Precision NanoSystems, a Vancouver-based biotech company, will receive up to 18.2 million Canadian dollars for the development and testing of a vaccine candidate.

The Trudeau government has previously announced agreements with several companies to secure access to their COVID-19 vaccines should they prove successful and are approved for use in Canada. These companies include AstraZeneca, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer and Moderna.

Trudeau said he is hopeful that vaccines can be used in the early part of 2021.

As of Friday afternoon, Canada had 211,076 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 9,884 deaths, according to CTV.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said on Friday that Canada's public health community has mobilized and collaborated like never before to stand up and sustain this response. "We've all had to adapt and adjust as new information emerged, while at the same time navigating through the sea of uncertainties."

"Pandemics are whole of social events. That means the impacts extend across society, not only by affecting those who become ill but also by impacting the health, social and economic systems that affect our overall wellbeing. It also means that minimizing the pandemic's impact, both today and in the future, depends on all of our actions now," added the agency.

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