Professor Andriy Sybirnyi of Lviv Institute of Cell Biology said his research team will have to pull the plug on the ongoing effort of producing own Covid vaccine after the state agency refused to allot the state funds for the next stage of research set to be conducted in Poland.
In an interview for Suspline news outlet, Sybirnyi revealed Lviv researchers managed to grow virus proteins in cells of a yeast and purified the protein, which was a big initial step toward the vaccine development.
The team needed to study the protein material on transgenic mice. As Ukraine has on facilities for such testing, the Lviv team had to look elsewhere but Ukraine’s National Fund of Research axed the idea of taking the study abroad.
Prof. Sybirnyi says, ‘The state fund has stalled the process for half a year, an then just didn’t let us transfer money to Poland although there is no such [official] ban’.
He argued the research that has cost ‘almost 300 thousand euros’ hit the wall when they were about to proceed to testing on ‘bigger animals’, which required considerable investments, eventually making Ukraine’s health ministry back out of the project.
‘Things got stuck. We had interest from the [Ukrainian] president and prime minister when there were a few vaccines on the market. But now, when there are plenty [of them], the interest has withered’.
With current funding issues and lack of commitment from the government, Ukraine will hardly resume development of own Covid vaccine, added the Lviv researcher.