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McMaster University is developing two COVID-19 vaccine candidates

Holding up its reputation for innovation, Hamilton’s McMaster University is currently at work developing not just one, but two potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

According to an announcement from the university, these homegrown vaccines are being developed by a McMaster team of virologists, infectious disease experts, and immunologists at a specialized facility right on the university’s Hamilton campus.

The efforts make McMaster one of few institutions producing Canadian-made vaccine candidates, as a worldwide push to produce further COVID-19 vaccines continues.

The vaccine development is occurring in McMaster’s Robert E. Fitzhenry Vector Laboratory: the first facility of its kind in the country, with the unique benefit of its ability to both develop and produce viral-vectored vaccines for clinical trials.

Researchers are currently manufacturing tens of thousands of doses for their vaccine candidates, and have the capacity to manufacture hundreds of thousands more.

If the candidates receive Health Canada approval, they could begin phase one human trials here in Hamilton by the Spring. If all goes well from there, phase two clinical trials could begin next fall.

Like the current Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, these McMaster-developed candidates are designed to be administered in a two-dose regimen.

A key difference from Pfizer and Moderna, however, is that the first dose would be injected, and the second would be administered via inhalation four weeks after the first dose to directly target the upper airways and mucus linings of the lungs: the most common infection sites for COVID-19.

“We are at the forefront of finding viable solutions to the ongoing pandemic,” said David Farrar, President of McMaster University in a statement.

“Working on something so pivotal to the health and safety of Canadians is evidence of our ongoing commitment,”

To learn more about McMaster’s COVID-19 vaccine candidates, read the announcement on the university’s website.

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