Vaccines and treatments for COVID-19: Clinical trials

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Clinical trials for vaccines

Clinical trials determine if COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

Vaccines are complex biological products. There are strict evidence requirements that need to be met before they can be authorized for use in healthy people. Large clinical trials are required to demonstrate a vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.

There are more than 150 potential COVID-19 vaccines at different stages of development around the world.

A number of vaccines are being developed in Canada. Healthy volunteers and COVID-19 patients in Canada may be able to participate in clinical trials. It isn’t necessary for clinical trials to be conducted in Canada for the vaccine to be authorized for use here.

Generally, a vaccine development process involves a number of clinical trial phases. Researchers use the results from one phase to plan the next based on the evidence.

For potential COVID-19 vaccines, manufacturers are using many processes to fast-track their development. This includes decreasing the time between trial phases by:

With these processes, manufacturers are able to speed up development without compromising safety and effectiveness (how well it works).

Clinical trials for treatments

Clinical trials for treatments include testing:

These clinical trials follow the same phases as vaccine trials.

There are many types of treatments that are being reviewed in Canada and around the world. Learn about clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments.

Applying to conduct a clinical trial

Companies, academic research centres and physicians (known as sponsors) can apply to conduct a clinical trial. An application can be made under either of the following:

We review applications to make sure the:

If all requirements are met, we’ll authorize the clinical trial.

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