A Burnaby biotech company has enrolled and dosed its first volunteer with an oral DNA vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Symvivo Corporation reported that “investigators have enrolled and dosed the first healthy volunteer in its bacTRL-Spike COVID-19 Phase I clinical trial in Australia.”
According to the firm, the treatment delivers genetic material to the gut, which directs the body to produce an immune response against COVID-19.
Last month, Symvivo announced a $2.8 million National Research Council grant to help study the drug, starting with a trial in Australia. The company states its vaccine candidate is at an advantage over other vaccines under development because it’s given orally and eventually could can be transported at room temperature. The firm is working to create vaccine capsules.
“If successful, these elements could change both the COVID-19 and vaccine landscapes, allowing for simple, safe and fast distribution of a vaccine globally,” CEO Alexander Graves told Postmedia News.
However, the Symvivo trial is in Phase 1, while the five potential vaccines that Health Canada has signed deals to buy are all in Phase 3 (the final stage before approval.) Those vaccines are from Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
On Wednesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 335 cases of COVID-19 over the past day and one death. There are now 3,120 cases of COVID-19 in B.C., with 92 of those cases being treated in hospital, including 25 in intensive care.
There are 31 active outbreaks in health-care facilities, including three reported between noon Tuesday and noon Wednesday at the White Rock Seniors Village, Hawthorne Seniors Care Community in Port Coquitlam, and Village at Mill Creek in Kelowna. So far, 187 residents of long-term care facilities have died (of the total 273 provincewide,) and 663 residents have tested positive, plus 467 staff.
The Ministry of Health announced today it would no longer provide a daily breakdown of the number of patients and staff that contract COVID-19 at individual long-term care facilities.
Henry said there had been a community outbreak at the La Casa Resort in West Kelowna, and that the outbreak at Tim Hortons in Kelowna was over.
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