Scientists Searching for a Coronavirus Vaccine at Meriden Lab

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Scientists across the country are racing to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, including at Protein Sciences in Meriden.

Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont learned more about those efforts during a private tour of the facility.

“This is the type of company that gives us the best hope,” Lamont told reporters after the tour.

The lab, owned by Sanofi, once developed a vaccine candidate for SARS which is in the same family as the coronavirus.  The company also makes three flu vaccines in the U.S.

“Once the vaccine is available we can move into large-scale production right away,” said Clem Lewin of Sanofi.

 The company said it has 100 people working on different parts of the process in the lab at Protein Sciences in Meriden, trying to find a vaccine for COVID-19.

“We’re working extremely hard to develop this vaccine as quickly and as fast as possible,” said Lewin.

Lewin works with the arm of the federal government that approves biomedical research.  He said there is collaboration happening with other researchers to get a vaccine on the market.

“There are a lot of people working very hard both in the government and the private sector working very hard to develop this, make this a reality,” he explained.

Once developed, he said the vaccine may also be manufactured in Meriden.

 “The idea of their vaccination if and when it comes could be incredibly timely,” said Lamont, pointing out that the coronavirus may subside and then make a second resurgence next fall or winter.

Company officials would not estimate when they might have a vaccine ready.  They said the next step is to make enough of the vaccine candidate to use for animal testing and clinical trials.  They’re also working with the federal government to accelerate that process. 

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