COVID-19 molecule. (The Canadian Press)

Researchers and health workers further vaccine development, drive-thru testing

Meanwhile, researchers in Ontario announced they isolated the COVID-19 virus on Thursday

Canadian researchers are making multiple breakthroughs in the fight against COVID-19, as a biotech firm take the firsts steps towards a vaccine and a hospital in Ottawa opened a drive-thru screening centre.

Quebec City-based Medicago said it has taken the first step towards a vaccine by producing a virus-like particle of the novel coronavirus.

The biopharmaceutical company said the virus-like particle will now undergo testing for safety and efficacy.

It said reaching this stage of the vaccine development process had taken them 20 days.

Medicago said it could begin human trials of a vaccine as soon as July or August after being approved by appropriate health agencies.

Meanwhile, researchers in Ontario announced they isolated the COVID-19 virus on Thursday.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre said isolating the virus will help researchers around the world develop vaccines, treatments and tests for the novel coronavirus.

The hospital and research centre said isolating the virus took “a few short weeks” and that their researchers collaborated with the University of Toronto and McMaster University.

The World Health Organization has said that a vaccine for COVID-19 could take as long as 18 months to develop.

In the meantime, health agencies have stressed the importance of reducing the spread of the virus in the short term through measures like isolating patients and consistently washing your hands.

READ MORE: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19, PMO says

In Ottawa, Queensway Carleton Hospital and Foundation has developed a drive-thru testing centre that will be located outside its emergency department and will help minimize wait times for patients.

The hospital said the station is open to patients who’ve been directed by Ottawa Public Health to receive screening for the novel coronavirus.

It said the station opened Thursday night.

“We will keep it open for as long as we deem necessary,” the hospital said in a tweet.

“We hope this will help our community and ensure their safety.”

Experts have pointed to drive-thru testing centres in South Korea as a system that Canadian health workers could mimic.

Stephen Hoption Cann of the University of British Columbia said drive-thrus in the city of Goyang allow people to stay in their cars as staff in protective clothing take samples from their throats and noses.

He said staff save time waiting on test results because samples don’t have to be sent elsewhere for analysis.

“If it’s positive they get a phone call, if it’s negative they just get a test message,” said Hoption Cann.

He said the country was able to implement the drive-thru testing method in their 2015 outbreak of MERS, and said the system allowed staff to catch new cases early.

The COVID-19 outbreak has not hit Canada as hard as countries like South Korea where there have been thousands of cases, but the number of patients in Canada has been growing.

There have been over 100 cases of the virus in Canada, prompting school closures in Ontario and the cancellation of major sporting events including NHL and NBA games.

The spread of the virus has reached Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, prompting the prime minister to self isolate.

Canadian health officials say most people who contract COVID-19 will only experience minor, flu-like systems but that the virus is more dangerous to elderly people and people with weak auto-immune systems.

Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Easter spirit shines from afar

Hope and TC are dressing up for Easter, but they’ll wait until next year to parade through town

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share, email it large or actual-size to editor@trailtimes.ca

What you saw …

If you have a recent photo to share email it large or actual-sized to editor@trailtimes.ca

Trail RCMP back Mayor’s request to end parades

Trail RCMP have asked residents to cease and desist parade gatherings in age of coronavirus

Silver City salute

If you have a recent photo to share email it large or actual-sized to editor@trailtimes.ca

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

VIDEO: B.C. singer creates frontline workers tribute song

Cambree Lovesy’s song saluting those battling COVID-19 draws interest online

Statistics Canada report looks at COVID-19’s impact on violence in the family

Police across Canada reported almost 100,000 cases of intimate partner violence in 2018

132,000 B.C. jobs lost just the start of COVID-19 impact, finance minister says

B.C.’s latest employment figures for March show 7.2% increase

B.C. asking companies to contribute through online COVID-19 supply hub

New platform to co-ordinate, source, expedite supplies and equipment to support front-line workers

B.C., Alberta health ministers urge public to stay home Easter weekend

Regional politicians, online petition calling for closure of provincial border to non-essential traffic

Controls can keep Canadian COVID-19 deaths under 22,000, health agency says

With poor containment measures, the death toll could be much, much higher, the agency says

Most Read