Ask a Scientist: COVID-19 Vaccines

We’re committed to empowering communities on their journey to whole health and wellness and are proud to support the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) with an investment of $150,000 to help expand their research capacity to rapidly respond to emerging infectious diseases.  Our donation will contribute to upgrading and expanding VIDO’s infrastructure, as well as supporting research and scientific training and establishing Saskatoon as the home to Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research.

Every year infectious diseases emerge that threaten the health of people and animals and impact the global economy. It is estimated that three diseases emerge annually, and every three years one of them will lead to a larger epidemic.

Outbreaks of pathogens like tuberculosis, Zika virus, and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) regularly make headlines, and the threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs is an increasing concern. All of this underlines the need to get ahead of these infectious diseases so that we can limit their impact.

The University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) is internationally recognized for its role in vaccine development and is one of Canada’s national science facilities. VIDO has a 45-year history of vaccine development and commercialization—eight of its vaccines have been sold commercially, and six have been described as world-firsts.

With 160 interdisciplinary personnel, over $200 million in containment infrastructure, and more than four decades of experience, they develop vaccines and technologies that protect health.

As part of the partnership and to help launch our commitment to strengthening health literacy in our province, we hosted “Ask A Scientist” – a virtual event alongside VIDO’s Dr. Volker Gerdts.  This presentation covers more about VIDO’s powerful work, it’s impact on whole health, and provides answers to common and viewer submitted questions about how vaccines are developed and how they work.

About Dr. Gerdts

Dr. Volker Gerdts is the Director and CEO of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), located at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada. He previously served as Associate Director of Research of VIDO from 2007 until 2018. Dr. Gerdts is also a Professor for Veterinary Immunology in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.

He received a DVM in 1994 from Hanover Veterinary School and a German PhD equivalent from the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Island of Riems and Hanover Veterinary School, Germany in 1997. He has served in various administrative roles and served on various editorial boards and national and international scientific review panels including NIH, CEPI, STAR-IDAZ, CIHR, CFI, NSERC, the Gairdner Foundation, etc.