(Adds prime minister’s comment, details)
OTTAWA, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Canada will invest up to C$214 million ($162.8 million) to help develop a domestically made COVID-19 vaccine as a second surge of infections across the country worsens, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.
Canada has secured up to 76 million doses of Quebec City-based Medicago’s potential virus-like particle vaccine, Trudeau said. It is the first domestically developed vaccine candidate the government has reserved.
The announcement came a day after the country recorded 2,788 new cases in a 24-hour period.
“Yesterday Canada had the highest ever number of new cases of COVID-19. We have to get these numbers down - this is serious and everybody must do their part,” Trudeau said in a news conference.
Last month Canada agreed to buy up to 20 million doses of the vaccine candidate produced by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. That is one of several deals Ottawa has signed to secure around 300 million potential shots.
Canada has agreements with Pfizer, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Moderna, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson for their vaccine candidates.
On Friday, the government also said it would invest up to C$18.2 million in Vancouver-based biotechnology company Precision NanoSystems Inc (PNI) to support a project for pre-clinical and clinical trials for a vaccine. ($1 = 1.3142 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)