First Canadian clinical trials for potential COVID-19 vaccine approved

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced Health Canada has approved the first Canadian clinical trials for a possible COVID-19 vaccine.

The manufacturers from The Canadian Center for Vaccinology at the Dalhousie University will be working with the National Research Council of Canada, so if vaccine trials are successful, Trudeau says, “We can produce and distribute it here at home.”

“Research and development take time and must be done right, but this is encouraging news,” he said.

Trudeau announced the development during his COVID briefing in Ottawa, and it will be his only appearance this long weekend.

While Trudeau did not say who the vaccine is being produced by, the National Research Council of Canada tells NEWS 1130 the manufacturer is CanSino Biologics Inc., a Chinese vaccine company, and that the vaccine candidate is being referred to as “Ad5-nCoV.”

A release from the National Research Council of Canada earlier this week announced its collaboration with CanSino Biologics Inc. on the vaccine.

“The vaccine candidate, Ad5-nCoV, was developed using technology from both China and Canada,” the release said.

“It was co-developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology (BIB) and CanSino Biologics Inc. using a genetically engineered replication-defective adenovirus type 5 vector to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is grown using living cells that were designed and developed at the National Research Council of Canada.”

The vaccine candidate received Chinese regulatory approval earlier this year, allowing CanSino Biologics Inc. to move ahead with human clinical trials in China, added the release.

Red Cross will also be receiving support as the organization works to support Canadians though quarantine sites, long-term care facilities, and its mobile field hospital.

Trudeau said the feds will be giving $100 million in funding to help Red Cross “meet increased demand due to COVID-19, and to support future floods and wildfire relief efforts,” according to the release.

“This funding includes up to $41 million to address immediate COVID-19 needs, with over $15 million committed to enhance the Red Cross’ response capacity and $25 million to support public health efforts.”

$59 million of the funding will be available to support additional relief and recovery efforts for COVID and future floods and wildfires.

“This will help ensure that the Red Cross can continue to support Canadians as the situation evolves and new needs emerge, including by assisting those who are evacuated from their homes because of floods or wildfires,” the release states.

During the briefing, the prime minister also announced an annual increase to the Canada Child Benefit for July.

“This additional tax-free support will help families pay for things such as food, clothes, and activities they can do together at home. The increase will be in place for the 2020-21 benefit year and will raise the maximum benefit to $6,765 per child under age 6, and $5,708 per child aged 6 through 17,” a release reads.

“This increase is in addition to the one-time special CCB payment announced by the Prime Minister earlier this month, to help families deal with the added pressures of COVID-19.”

On Wednesday, the measure will give families who are currently receiving the CCB another $300 per child along with their May payment. Some Canadians will also receive about $2 billion in extra support to support family during the pandemic.

“Raising children is expensive. That’s why we created the Canada Child Benefit to help parents pay for what their families need. Whether it’s used for groceries, new clothes, or at-home activities, this extra support will make things easier on them as they deal with regular everyday expenses and the extra challenges caused by COVID-19,” Trudeau says.

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