Trudeau isolating after Covid exposure; says test negative

Jan 27, 2022 11:31 PM IST

Meanwhile, the company that partnered with Bharat Biotech to make Covaxin in North America has entered into an agreement to acquire a manufacturing facility in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that he was isolating for five days after learning that he had been exposed to someone with Covid-19, adding however that the rapid test he had taken came back negative,

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference on the Covid-19 situation in Ottawa, Canada. (AFP/FILE)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference on the Covid-19 situation in Ottawa, Canada. (AFP/FILE)

“Last night, I learned that I have been exposed to Covid-19,” Trudeau said in a tweet on Thursday. “My rapid test result was negative.”

He said he was following health regulations and self-isolating for five days.

“I feel fine and will be working from home. Stay safe, everyone – and please get vaccinated,” he added. Trudeau, 50, is fully-vaccinated, and in January received a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at a pharmacy in Ottawa.

There were no additional details available.

Trudeau also self-isolated in March 2020, when the pandemic first arrived in Canada, after his wife Sophie Gregoire was infected while on a trip to England.

Covaxin production in Canada

The biopharmaceutical company which has partnered with India’s Bharat Biotech to make Covaxin in North America, has entered into an agreement to acquire a manufacturing facility in Canada.

The Pennsylvania-based Ocugen announced on Thursday that it had signed a non-binding letter of intent with the Canadian company Liminal BioSciences for the acquisition of their manufacturing site in Belleville, Ontario.

If approved, Covaxin will be “the first product manufactured in new upgraded facility”, a release from Ocugen said.

Ocugen’s Canadian subsidiary Vaccigen has an application for emergency use authorisation of the vaccine with Health Canada. Ocugen plans to repurpose the dormant vaccine manufacturing facility and create capacity in Canada.

“This site, after transformation into a state-of-the-art hub, with the support of the regional talent pool can help bring our innovative products – from vaccines to our modifier gene therapy assets – to the patients we will serve globally,” said Ocugen’s chairman and CEO Dr Shankar Musunuri said.

The introduction between Ocugen and Liminal was facilitated by Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry François-Philippe Champagne.

Covaxin’s was submitted to Health Canada on June 30. However, there is no clarity on when, and if, regulators will clear the vaccine for use in Canada.

In a tweet earlier this month, the agency said, “A decision will be made once all of the required information has been thoroughly evaluated by Health Canada. As the review is still ongoing, it is not possible to predict when a regulatory decision will be made.”

Health Canada said it reviews vaccine applications through an independent process and authorises products based on “scientific rigour and medical evidence”.

“Timing for the completion of Health Canada’s review depends on many factors, including but not limited to, the need for additional data, discussions with the sponsor, and requirements for updates to safety information,” it added.

Covaxin was approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in November 2021. It has been recognised in Canada for the purpose of travel since November 30 when the country started accepting those with two doses of Covaxin as fully vaccinated.

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    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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