Coronavirus: Canadian maker of promising mRNA vaccine looks to test it against Pfizer in new trial

State of emergency declared in response to increased spread of COVID-19 in the Yukon
State of emergency declared in response to increased spread of COVID-19 in the Yukon

A homegrown mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 shows promising results in its first small trial and its maker is hoping to test it directly against the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech.

Calgary-based Providence Therapeutics says its vaccine produced no serious adverse events and developed good antibodies against COVID-19 that “compare favourably” with the two mRNA vaccines already on the market from Pfizer and Moderna.

The Phase 1 trial included 60 healthy adults between 18 and 64, with more than half of them receiving two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart. The results have not yet been peer-reviewed.

Providence Therapeutics CEO Brad Sorenson says the company is extremely pleased with the results but feels like it’s not getting the support or recognition it deserves from Ottawa.

Sorenson says he needs 500 Pfizer doses to move to the Phase 2 head-to-head trial, but hasn’t been able to get those doses from the company or Health Canada.

A spokesman for federal Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne says Providence has received almost $10 million in federal funding to date, and the company has been told Ottawa is also committed to supporting it through its Phase 2 trial.

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