OTTAWA — The federal government has reached an agreement with U.S. manufacturer Novavax for 76 million doses of the group’s promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373.
The deal hinges on Health Canada’s approval but would see the doses supplied to Canada beginning as early as the second quarter of 2021. The government has also inked deals with pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Moderna for access to millions of doses of their unique candidates.
“We are pleased to announce this agreement with Novavax, which will give Canadians access to a promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate. This is an important step in our government’s efforts to secure a vaccine to keep Canadians safe and healthy, as the global pandemic evolves,” said Procurement Minister Anita Anand in a press release.
Phase 2 clinical trails of NVX-CoV2373 began in August in the U.S. and Australia following a successful Phase 1 period where the vaccine was generally “well-tolerated,” reports Novavax.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says the candidate still has a variety of regulatory hurdles to overcome before it gets the green light but this step indicates Canada is well positioned in the global race to find a COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s wonderful to see that the federal government is looking at vaccine candidates, looking at which ones could be successful. We appreciate that some of these might not be successful and we’re sort of hedging our bets and we’ll have access to vaccines when they become available,” he told CTV News Channel on Monday.
This follows news last week that Chinese customs halted the shipment of CanSino Biologics’ vaccine candidate to Canada, denying the opportunity to commence human trials here.
“Due to the delay in the shipment of the vaccine doses to Canada it is evident this specific opportunity is over and the NRC is focusing its team and facilities on other partners and COVID-19 priorities,” the National Research Council said in a statement on Thursday.
While multiple trials testing various vaccine candidates are progressing around the world, there is currently no accepted cure or vaccine for the novel coronavirus.