COVID-19 vaccine: Canada starts clinical trials for Ad5-nCoV

COVID-19 vaccine

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada has approved clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine, but cautions that the road ahead to a cure is years away.


Dr. Scott Halperin,a director for the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Halifax, Nova Scotia told CTV News that Dalhousie University has received government approval to start with clinical trials of the potential COVID-19 vaccine called Ad5-nCoV.

Ad5-nCoV was developed by CanSino Biologics, a Chinese company working with the Government of Canada to conduct the clinical trials using Canadian volunteers.

Dr. Halperin told CTV News that the clinical trials will be conducted “in a more accelerated fashion, without sacrificing any safety”.

Dr. Halperin’s team will not be waiting for the final results at each stage of the clinical trials, but instead will move on to the next stage.

Dr. Halperin remains confident, telling CTV News that “what we want to do is find a vaccine that’s well-tolerated by individuals, and that has a good immune response – and then make sure that it works”.


The Ad5-nCoV clinical trials will be conducted in three stages.

The first stage will involve 100 volunteers, which will determine how Ad5-nCoV responds to the virus.

The volunteers will be Canadians between the ages of 18 to 55, who will be required to undertake regularly scheduled blood tests over a six month period.

Dr. Halperin said that volunteers will receive a dose of Ad5-nCoV, to see if they generate a satisfactory response.

Volunteers will be closely monitored to ensure safety. They will be asked to report any symptoms they might exhibit during the clinical trials.

Once Dr. Halperin’s team has determined that Ad5-nCoV is safe for human use, the clinical trials will proceed to the second stage.

During the second stage, hundreds of additional volunteers will be added to the clinical trial.

These new volunteers will consist of a broader group of Canadians from all age groups.

Dr. Halperin’s team will be paying close attention for any indications that Ad5-nCoV is not safe, including how volunteers react to it and if its use generates any antibodies.

The third stage of the clinical trials will require further expansion, this time involving thousands of Canadian volunteers.

The third stage of clinical trials will try to answer the question of whether or not Ad5-nCoV will prevent infection from COVID-19.

“The vaccine is given, and then we wait to see whether people who, when they come in contact with the virus under natural conditions, whether they’re protected compared to somebody who just received a placebo immunization,” Dr. Halperin told CTV News.

The COVID-19 vaccine candidate was developed in China, where they are already in the second stage of clinical trials.
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