‘Maximum protection’: Alberta company developing COVID-19 vaccine

Entos Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is developing a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infections — and it could be ready in less than a year.

The Edmonton-based company is led by Dr. John Lewis, a University of Alberta researcher who is world-renowned for his team’s work on prostate cancer detection, progression and drug delivery.

Entos is creating a DNA-based vaccine which would protect against multiple components of the new coronavirus for “maximum protection.”

Unlike a traditional vaccine which gives patients a weakened or inactive virus to provoke an immune response, Lewis said the Entos product would deliver battle instructions.

The Entos CEO says the method, named Fusogenix, has several advantages: stronger defense, a more stable vaccine and the ability to make a lot of product quickly.

“Because we’re just using DNA which we can also manufacture at large scale, we can very quickly go from creating a vaccine in a lab where we’re making just a few drops or a vial of it – to scaling it up to hundreds and hundreds of litres,” said Lewis.

The company plans to have a candidate vaccine ready within a few weeks, and is now in talks with potential partners to fast-track it to human trials.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that Canada is spending $192 million on developing and producing vaccines for the new coronavirus.

Trudeau said being prepared to mass-produce a vaccine will be essential for suppressing COVID-19 in the long run.

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