Sumary of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine contender: Medicago’s breakthrough, ties to Big Tobacco and warnings a…:
- It involves a new technology that’s rapid and nimble, and a vaccine that can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, of 2 C to 8 C, unlike the two other vaccines currently in circulation, which each require frozen or ultra-cold frozen storage.
- It will involve 30,000 people in 11 countries — including Canada — and will ultimately determine if the vaccine protects people from COVID-19.
- But without a federal contract to develop a flu vaccine, Clark said Medicago’s shareholders were skittish about dumping money into a construction that didn’t yet have a purpose — and at the commence of 2020, it still wasn’t finished.
- Pandemic warningsBut if and when Medicago gets the green light from Health Canada to commence shipping its COVID-19 vaccine later this year, the bulk of its doses will initially come from the U.S., not Canada.
80 million doses expected in 2021
Today, the pace of construction at Medicago’s new production plant on the north-east side of Quebec City plant mirrors the urgency in its labs.
A greenhouse, the size of 10 football fields will soon grow thousands of plants which could satisfy far more than the Canadian demand.
If Health Canada gives it the go-ahead, Medicago expects to deliver 80 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine this year, doubling that in 2022. By the time the new facility is fully functioning in late 2023 or early 2024, it hopes to produce a billion doses a year.
“The pressure is high, and I think everybody in the company is tired,” Dr. Ward said. “But we’re also among the few people in the world that are actively working to try to make things better.”