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Canadian researchers making headway on COVID-19 vaccine

The potential vaccine is moving to animal testing and the VIDO-InterVac centre is hoping to be able to start human trials shortly.

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Canadian researchers have made gains on the COVID-19 virus this week.

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) have been working toward a vaccine since January.

“Within hours (of talking with Canada’s Public Health Agency) we were given permission to handle the virus. I have never seen such speed before, and it shows how institutions can and should work together,”  Dr. Volker Gerdts said in January.

The DNA blueprint or genome sequence for the virus was released last week by Chinese researchers.

“We immediately used that information to launch the vaccine work. We hope to have first candidates of the vaccine ready for testing in an animal model in six to eight weeks,” he said.

VIDO-InterVac has contributed to work on vaccines for SARS and Zeka virus in the past.

Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Minister of Advanced Education in Saskatchewan, said the centre has worked with the World Health Organization, Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“It’s an amazing Saskatchewan story. It’s an important research tool from Saskatchewan’s perspective, something we can contribute to the world and we have this facility right here in our province,” she said.

The potential vaccine is moving to animal testing and the centre is hoping to be able to start human trials shortly.

The government of Saskatchewan announced additional funding of $200,000 for the VIDO-InterVac centre Wednesday and also received an injection of funding from the federal government.

In an announcement earlier this week, the federal government committed around $27 million for research and the Saskatchewan centre received almost $1 million.

Further east, Sunnybrook Research Institute in Ontario announced Thursday that researchers had isolated the coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) “the agent responsible for the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19”.

“The isolated virus will help researchers in Canada and across the world develop better diagnostic testing, treatments and vaccines,” the release said.

A Quebec City company, Medicago – who works in partnership with Agriculture Canada and Laval University – also announced Thursday they have a prospective specimen with the potential to help create a vaccine.

As of Friday morning, Canada has just over 150 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

As of Thursday, BC confirmed 46 cases, Alberta 23, one presumptive case in Saskatchewan, three presumptive cases in Manitoba, 59 cases in Ontario, 17 cases in Quebec, and one presumptive case in New Brunswick, the first in Atlantic Canada.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter @Mitchell_AB

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Liberals considering an extra $34 million CBC bailout

The broadcaster’s advertising revenue is falling as quickly as its ratings – its 27 stations across Canada combined to an average of 319,000 viewers, 12,000 per city, for their dinner-hour news.

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The federal Liberals are considering giving the CBC another $34 million in taxpayer cash as part of a COVID-19 bailout.

The proposed bailout is found in documents from the Treasury Board released this week.

The proposed increase — $33.733 million — is described as an “internal reallocation of resources for the COVID-19 impact to advertising revenues and operating costs” reported the Toronto Sun.

CBC has reported a revenue loss of 13% in their first quarter – blaming a drop in advertising dollars because of the pandemic.

The broadcaster’s advertising revenue is falling as quickly as its ratings – its 27 stations across Canada combined to an average of 319,000 viewers, 12,000 per city, for their dinner-hour news.

Treasury Board president Jean-Yves Duclos, Supplementary Estimates (B), 2020–21 shows $79.2 billion in budgetary spending, $58 billion in estimated statutory expenditures and nearly $21 billion in spending needing Parliament’s approval.

The CBC already receives more than $1-billion each year of taxpayer’s money.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta agriculture minister hit by rural crime

Devin Dreeshen, the UCP MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, tweeted he was at home last week when the criminals hit.

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Alberta’s agriculture minister has become the latest victim of rural crime.

Devin Dreeshen, the UCP MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, tweeted he was at home last week when the criminals hit.

“Woke up at 4am to the sound of my truck being stolen. Criminals were in the process of stealing quads from the shed but were scared off. Needs to be fixed – rural Albertans shouldn’t have to put up with this,” Dreeshen tweeted.

A pick-up truck belonging to the agriculture minister was taken and reportedly used in a crime spree across Alberta before being dumped and set on fire near Cold Lake.

RCMP recovered the vehicle on Thursday.

“Appropriate steps were taken immediately following the incident, involving all concerned ministries. For example, any electronic devices that may have been compromised by this incident were successfully remotely wiped by government officials,” said a government statement to Rebel News.

“Furthermore, the Government of Alberta has significant security measures in place for all of its information. Cabinet-level documents are accessed digitally through a secure, password-protected cloud-based app. Drives are password-protected and encrypted so they cannot be accessed simply by removing the drive and plugging it into another computer.”

Rural Alberta has been hit with a plague or rural crime the past two years.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Edmonton NDP MP slammed for asking feds to stop health transfers to Alberta

Heather McPherson, NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona, said in the House of Commons Kenney’s changes has put the health system “under attack” with women disproportionally affected.

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An Edmonton NDP MP is being blasted for asking the feds if they would withhold health transfers to Alberta in the wake of Premier Jason Kenney’s moves to shake up the health care system in the province.

Heather McPherson, NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona, said in the House of Commons Kenney’s changes has put the health system “under attack” with women disproportionally affected.

“Will the minister commit to protecting women in Alberta and the rest of Canada,” McPherson asked.

“Will she withhold transfer payments if Jason Kenney refuses to adhere to the Canada Health Act?”

But that move is being slammed by prominent Edmonton businessman and Tory candidate in Edmonton Strathcona, Rick Peterson.

“It is totally fine that @HMcPhersonMP disagrees with @jkenney, but asking for federal health transfers to be withheld from Alberta is unacceptable. No level of disagreement justifies threats to Albertans’ healthcare funding, especially from the #EdmontonStrathcona MP,” said Peterson, who ran for the federal Tory leadership earlier this year.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced earlier this month that Alberta Health Services was shedding 9,700 hundred jobs by shifting them to the private sector.

The UCP has also asked the AHS to remove 100 managers.

Most of the 9,700 other jobs will now be outsourced in labs, housekeeping, food services, and laundry.

There will be 2,000 laboratory jobs, 4,000 housekeeping jobs, 3,000 food service jobs, and 400 laundry jobs cut.

The province said about 70 per cent of lab results are already contracted out, as is 68 per cent of laundry.

AHS has 3,300 employees in management, with 68 senior leaders and 14 on the executive teams.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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