COVID-19 Diary – Day 225

Canada Makes Another Vaccine Agreement

Earlier today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada had made an agreement to purchase 76 million doses of a vaccine candidate being developed by Medicago in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline. This marks the first vaccine candidate Canada has entered into an agreement to purchase that is being developed domestically. This is also the only vaccine candidate Canada has an agreement for that is still just in Phase I studies. Phase II/III studies are expected to begin soon, and Medicago currently hopes to submit the vaccine for approval later in 2021. 76 million doses represents nearly the entire stock of vaccine Medicago expects to be able to produce next year.

This vaccine is also a more unusual type compared to the other options Canada has agreements for already. It is a ‘Virus-like particles’ type, which is a special class of subunit vaccine. In this type, proteins are self-assembled into artificial particles that are intended to look like viruses to the human immune system, and even bind-to and enter cells like a virus.

The Government of Canada has also signed agreements with the following companies to obtain vaccines:

  • Sanofi and GSK, which will supply up to 72 million doses of their COVID-19 adjuvanted recombinant protein-based vaccine candidate.
  • Johnson & Johnson, which will supply up to 38 million doses of its vaccine candidate, Ad26.COV2.S.
  • Novavax, which will supply up to 76 million doses of its vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373.
  • Pfizer, which will supply a minimum of 20 million doses of its mRNA-based vaccine candidate, BNT162. The government is negotiating with the company to have the agreement include options for obtaining additional doses.
  • Moderna, which will supply up to 56 million doses of its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. 

AstraZeneca & Johnson&Johnson Vaccines Resume Trials

After nearly 7 weeks in limbo, Phase III trials of AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate have re-started in the USA. Trials were voluntarily paused globally as of September 6th following a safety event, and all but the trials in the USA were resumed shortly after. After very careful consideration, and looking through the global data available for the vaccine candidate, the FDA was convinced that the safety event was unrelated to the vaccine, and trials were safe to resume.

Johnson & Johnson received similarly good news from the FDA following their own 11-day pause of their Phase III vaccine trials. A representative of J&J told TheWashingtonPost that the “serious medical event” one study volunteer experienced had “no clear cause.” The company’s chief scientific officer, Dr. Paul Stoffels also said that no one at the company knew if the volunteer had received the placebo or the vaccine, to preserve the integrity of the trial.

Moderna Completes Enrollment of 30k Vaccine Volunteers

Moderna recently announced that they had completed their enrollment process for their Phase III vaccine trial, and more than 25k of their 30k volunteers had already received their second (final) dose of the vaccine. Moderna is considered by many to be competing for the position of the leading vaccine candidate and is only trailing the efforts of Pfizer/BioNTech by a hair at this point, with both companies expected to apply for FDA approval in the next few weeks to months.

Moderna is also reporting that their enrollment includes more than 7,000 volunteers over the age of 65 and more than 5,000 volunteers under the age of 65 but at increased risk of severe COVID-19 due to diabetes, severe obesity or other conditions.

Reporting Health Order Violations & Anti-Science

Did you know that the City of Vancouver has made the reporting of health order violations very easy? They set up a dedicated page with a simple web-form you can fill out here. There are a variety of order violations you can choose from, and you can even attach photos or videos if you have evidence of the violation.

You can also report dangerous conspiracy theories that perpetuate false information on social media like Facebook. Just click on the “3 dots” on the top right-hand corner of the post, and select “find support or report post” and you’ll see these options open up:

Please ensure that if you use this function you only ever report posts with information that is factually incorrect and dangerous.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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