Moderna, an American biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is leading the race for the vaccine against the new coronavirus that strikes almost the entire planet. A Sherbrooke resident is part of the team that works day and night on a solution.
The company started the first clinical trials this week. The laboratory, which works in collaboration with the American National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has chosen a group of 45 healthy and voluntary adults between the ages of 18 and 55 to do the tests that take place over a period weeks in Seattle.
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Moderna is a publicly traded company with approximately 700 employees. Sherbrooke resident Nicolas Chornet plays a key role as senior vice-president of production and general manager. The former student of the Sherbrooke Seminary studied chemical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. He is the son of Esteban Chornet and the brother of Michel and the late Vincent Chornet of Enerkem.
The experimental vaccine tested, mRNA-1273, was developed by researchers from Moderna and NIAID. An 18-month delay is estimated between the trials and the marketing of the vaccine if it proves to be effective.
Other research is underway around the world to find a vaccine against COVID-19, but Moderna is the first company to move into clinical trials.
COVID-19 study at UdeS
In addition, Canada’s research funding agencies recently announced the granting of dedicated research grants related to COVID-19 totaling $ 26.8 million, which will support 47 projects.
Among these researchers, five of them work with their teams in Quebec universities, notably Richard Leduc, of the Université de Sherbrooke, who works in collaboration with Éric Marsault, of the Sherbrooke Pharmacology Institute.
The work will cover several dimensions of COVID-19. For example, the treatment, clinical management, diagnosis, vaccines, social dynamics, communication and confidence, public health interventions and their repercussions, coordination, governance and logistics and the dynamics of the transmission.