A nanovaccine against COVID-19

Grant to develop a nanovaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus

Professor of the Department of Biological Sciences Denis Archambault and three other researchers, including Professor Steve Bourgault, of the Department of Chemistry and member of NanoQAM, received a grant of $ 622,782 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to develop a nanovaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for COVID-19, as part of the competition “Operating grant: Funding possibility for a rapid research intervention against COVID-19 (May 2020)”. Some 1,500 research proposals, evaluated by various peer committees, were submitted to this competition. The proposal by Denis Archambault, who is leading the project, was ranked 3rd out of the 77 evaluated by the Committee on Infectious and Immunity Diseases.

A total of seven projects were approved by this committee. “We are very proud, for us and for UQAM, of the result of this competition, which shows that the evaluation committee recognized the quality of the proposal and of the team,” said the professor. We are confident that we can contribute to the fight against COVID-19. ”

This is not the first time that Denis Archambault has collaborated with Steve Bourgault, who is interested, among other things, in molecules of various kinds capable of forming nanoparticles. “Over the past few years, we have jointly developed nanovaccine platforms against infectious agents,” reports the professor. Denis Archambault, for his part, has some 25 years of research experience on viruses belonging to the coronavirus group, which includes SARS-CoV-2. “These two elements have served us well in guiding our research proposal on COVID-19 judiciously”, specifies the professor.

“To date, the pandemic associated with COVID-19 has affected more than 10 million people in 213 countries and territories, causing more than 500,000 deaths,” recalls Denis Archambault. As we know, SARS-CoV-2 is an insidious, contagious, very virulent and dangerous virus which requires very high levels of biosecurity to be handled. “Over the years, I have developed contacts all over the world with virology researchers,” notes the professor. Thanks to these collaborations, experiments to validate the vaccine, including experimental infections in animals, will take place in the maximum biosafety level 4 laboratories, located in Winnipeg, which is a privilege for us and for UQAM. ”

In addition to Steve Bourgault, holder of the Canada Research Chair in the Chemistry of Biological Nanoassemblies, the other collaborators in the project are Dr Bradley Pickering, Head of the Special Pathogens Unit of the National Center for Exotic Animal Diseases. the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Winnipeg, and Dr Darwyn Kobasa, Head of the High Containment Respiratory Virus Group Special Pathogens at the National Microbiology Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada, also based in Winnipeg. Dr Kobasa has been a major player in the development of the vaccine against the Ebola virus.

Source: Actualités UQAM