The purpose of the Phase 1 trials for the Saskatchewan made COVAC 2 COVID-19 vaccine is to establish its safety. Director of VIDO on the University of Saskatchewan campus, Dr. Volker Gerdts, says the vaccine has shown local site injection reaction and people feeling a little under the weather which is the same as seen with existing approved vaccines.
So the vaccine created in Saskatoon at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization is moving on to Phase 2 of clinical trials. Phase 2 of the vaccine trial will take place in both Halifax, the site of the original trials, and now as well in Saskatoon. Dr. Gerdts also says a number of volunteers in Halifax dropped out of study because they were able to obtain the authorized vaccine so they are looking for volunteers and anyone who wants to be involved in the clinical trial just needs to contact VIDO
The Director of VIDO says as they go into phase 2 they are running into a problem of not being able to find unvaccinated volunteers which makes it challenging to maintain the original timeline. .Phase 2 will be an adapted COVAC 2 vaccine which has been adjusted for variants of concern. Right now Dr. Gerdts says no one knows when the effectiveness of vaccines wears off or how long the immune response lasts but monitoring the blood of those vaccinated will allow them to determine how effective antibodies are and for how long.
Dr. Gerdts says Phase 3 involves thousands of volunteers with a strong possibility of having to move the final clinical trial out of the country although there may be a possibility of doing smaller trials and just comparing the COVAC-2 vaccine to existing vaccines and those trials could be run in Canada, but it is a bit more complicated.