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National Research Council contribution plays key role in newly approved Ebola vaccine

News release

March 20, 2018 – Montreal, QC -In response to the Ebola outbreak that claimed more than 10,000 lives in West Africa four years ago, Canada and China worked on a new Ebola vaccine. Created by the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences’ Bioengineering Institute and CanSino Biologics Inc., the vaccine has recently been approved by Chinese regulators and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) developed the manufacturing process.

The vaccine is made from living cells engineered by the National Research Council. Named HEK 293, these cells are grown inside stainless steel tanks and require special conditions and nutrients to thrive. Experts reproduced a variety of tests to successfully transfer a process for the production of this vaccine in a manufacturing facility. Should another Ebola outbreak occur, the vaccine would be ready to be deployed.

In addition to its work on this Ebola vaccine, the National Research Council has also developed and licensed the cells and processes to manufacture a vaccine that prevents transmission of a virus that causes birth defects from mothers to their babies, an anti-cancer treatment, as well an anti-Alzheimer’s treatment, all of which are currently in or destined for clinical trials.


“Our participation in strategic R&D collaborations with international partners is driving the biomanufacturing of new, targeted, and effective treatments in underserved areas. We are pleased that our expertise and knowledge in this area will enable CanSino to manufacture their Ebola vaccine.”
– Mr. Iain Stewart, President of the National Research Council of Canada

“CanSinoBio is a biotechnology company dedicated to vaccine research, development and commercialization aimed at addressing markets and public health needs for China and other global markets. The NRC’s HEK 293 GMP-ready cell line and associated technologies provide a great platform for the development and manufacturing of new vaccines. CanSinoBio is grateful to be able to demonstrate its potential. We look forward to continue working with the NRC to develop other vaccines to address unmet medical needs.”
– Dr. Xuefeng Yu, Chairman and CEO of CanSino Biologics Inc.
Quick facts

  • Unlike common medicines, which come in a pill format and are produced by chemical synthesis,

  • vaccinesare biological products that are produced in living cells.

  • Adenoviral vectors are genetically engineered, deactivated viruses

  • that are used to deliver vaccine antigens and generate immune responses in a safe way.

  • The vaccine developed by CanSino is designed to provide protection against the

  • strain of Ebola virus that caused the 2014 outbreak.