After almost a year into the pandemic, Providence Therapeutics continues to develop a vaccine, trailing after Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna
To test its Canadian-made vaccine to protect against COVID-19, Providence Therapeutics started human clinical trials in Toronto on Jan. 26.
Jordan Ari Schwartz, government relations and project manager of Providence Therapeutics, is confident that the vaccine, called PTX COVID 19-B, will be successful at protecting people against COVID-19 and its new variants.
“We know from our preclinical work that our vaccine induces strong antibody responses — in particular, the antibodies that are able to neutralize the virus,” said Schwartz.
In the upcoming weeks, the company will find out how the vaccine affects the human immune system.
In addition to manufacturing the PTX-COVID19-B vaccine in Canada, Providence Therapeutics is in the preclinical testing stage of a second vaccine named PTX-COVID19-LT.
Schwartz explains that the PTX-COVID19-B is a vaccine that targets the spike protein to generate antibodies.
Meanwhile, the PTX-COVID19-LT is a vaccine that takes different parts of the virus that are better conserved than the spike protein and generate a strong T-cell response to establish long-term immunity.
“We believe that, in the future, this vaccine could be very helpful to really stop the virus from (creating further) outbreaks,” said Schwartz.
Providence Therapeutics will have both vaccines ready for distribution by January 2022.
Schwartz emphasizes that even before the pandemic hit, designing and testing a vaccine was always a long-term process. “When making a vaccine, it can take five to 10 years to go from preclinical to commercial,” said Schwartz.
Schwartz explains that PTX-COVID19-B will be administered in two doses to prime and boost immunity.
The company is working towards acquiring government support and building partnerships with other companies in order to produce enough vaccines for all Canadians.
“We’re excited to test this new vaccine and see how it compares with the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines,” said Schwartz.