Millions of dollars in federal funding is coming to two new B.C. projects aiming to advance mRNA vaccine technology.
Minister for International Development Harjit Sajjan announced Monday $11.1 million will be given through PacifiCan to the University of British Columbia for vaccine research.
“PacifiCan is committed to supporting British Columbia’s life sciences sector and these projects at the University of British Columbia reflect that commitment,” Sajjan said in a news release.
“Establishing a home-grown pipeline for mRNA vaccine research will not only save lives, but create jobs for British Columbians and position Canada as a global leader in biotechnology innovation.”
One of the two projects will focus on how mRNA vaccines are administered and taken up by the body. The hope is that side-effects from the vaccine will be reduced and their effectiveness will be improved, which could allow for a smaller vaccine dose.
The other project aims to identify new COVID-19 variants before they even spread. Officials said researchers will use artificial intelligence to predict future mRNA vaccine treatments.
“With cutting-edge research led by some of the brightest minds globally, UBC continues to excel in biotechnology and life sciences research and innovation,” Santa Ono, UBC president, said in a news release.
“With the generous support of the Government of Canada through PacifiCan announced today, our researchers will be able to help development treatments for new COVID-19 variants and improve the efficacy of mRNA vaccines and other therapeutics for a wide range of diseases.”
It’s expected funding for the two projects will create at least 240 jobs at UBC and with other industry partners, the federal government said.