Pictured left to right: Dr. Robert Kozak, Dr. Samira Mubareka, Dr. Arinjay Banerjee, the research team responsible for isolating the COVID-19 virus.

On Thursday, a team of Canadian researchers from Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto, McMaster University in Hamilton, and the University of Toronto has isolated COVID-19 virus, which will help scientists around the world develop better diagnostic testing, treatments, vaccines and “gain a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology, evolution and clinical shedding,” Sunnybrook said.  

“Researchers from these world-class institutions came together in a grassroots way to successfully isolate the virus in just a few short weeks,” said Dr. Rob Kozak, a clinical microbiologist at Sunnybrook said in a statement

“It demonstrates the amazing things that can happen when we collaborate.”

Vaccine in development in Saskatchewan

Out west, researchers at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) announced their COVD-19 vaccine has reached the testing phase. 

The team at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) at the U of S was awarded $1 million as part of a $26.7-million federal initiative to fight COVID-19.

“You will be happy to hear we have already immunized animals with our vaccine. So we have already made a vaccine where we are in the animal phase where we’re testing it. We’re are hoping in a few weeks from the first trial we learn whether it works or not,” Dr. Volker Gerdts, project co-applicant and director of VIDO-InterVac, told CKOM — but added that a human vaccine could still be 10 to 12 months away.

“If everything goes really, really well, it could be ready in six to eight months to be ready to test in humans and then depending on those in 10 to 12 months there might be a candidate that’s ready to be handed out to people,” Dr. Gerdts said.