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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada is building its domestic vaccine production capacity, with an agreement that would see a Novavax COVID-19 vaccine being made in Montreal, at the National Research Council of Canada facility.
“We need as much domestic capacity for vaccine production as possible,” Trudeau said at a press conference on Tuesday, adding that tens of millions of doses are expected to be produced.
“This is major step forward to get vaccines made in Canada for Canadians.”
While the prime minister did not provide a specific timeline, which will also be dependant on Health Canada approval, the facility is expected to be completed by the end of the summer. This comes after the federal government announced an investment of almost $126 million last year to upgrade the facility.
François-Philippe Champagne Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said that by the end of the year, officials expected to be in the position to produce about two million vaccine doses a month, after receiving certification from Health Canada.
The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine has demonstrated 89.3 per cent efficacy in a U.K. phase three trial and has shown to provide protection against the B117 variant, initially detected in the U.K, and the B1351 variant first identified in South Africa.
Through the strategic innovation fund, $25 million will invested in Precision NanoSystems Inc. to establish a bio-manufacturing facility in Vancouver that will produce the mRNA vaccines to combat COVID-19. It is expected that the project will be completed in 2023 with the capacity to manufacture up to 240 million of mRNA vaccines each year.
The government is also investing up to $14 million to Edesa Biotech in Ontario to advance their antibody therapeutic candidate, which targets acute respiratory distress syndrome, the leading cause of death of COVID-19 patients.
Federal officials still maintain that by September, every Canadians who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will have access to one.