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A Nova Scotia laboratory working on a vaccine for COVID-19 has been given the green light from Health Canada to proceed with its plan for human trials.

“The clinical team is putting together the final documents for Health Canada final approval, to move that into the clinic,” says Marianne Stanford, the vice-president of research and development of IMV Inc. “We’re putting all the pieces together to get this done.”

IMV is a biopharmaceutical company with labs in Dartmouth, N.S. The company started working on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus as soon as the World Health Organization declared the pandemic.

Health Canada has now approved IMV’s design for its Phase 1 clinical study, which will test the vaccine in 84 healthy adults.

Phase 1 will test the safety of the vaccine itself. The study is unique in that it will test the vaccine on two age groups — adults between 18 and 55 years old and adults 56 years of age and older. Two doses of the vaccine will be tested on both groups.

“We’re one of the first to focus in that [older] age group for initial clinical trial,” says Stanford, “and I think that’s really based on the fact that we have previous data with that age group.”