Laval University will welcome a new national center for pandemic preparedness

Laval University will welcome a new national center for pandemic preparedness
Laval University will welcome a new national center for pandemic preparedness

A new national center for pandemic preparedness will be created at Laval University.

This infrastructure, which will use primates, will allow Canada to increase its autonomy in terms of biosecurity.

The aim is to respond more effectively to new health threats such as that caused by COVID-19. Not so long ago, the idea of ​​a pandemic seemed improbable, whereas in 2024, there seems to be consensus on the need to prepare.

Monday morning, in Montreal, the national winners of the most recent Canadian Biological Sciences Research Infrastructure Fund competition were revealed.

A duty

The creation of this center was made possible thanks, among other things, to $42 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

“New pandemics are certainly to be feared in the future and it is our duty to be ready to face them,” declared the rector of Laval University, Sophie D’Amours.

This new center is expected to address gaps observed in the Canadian vaccine research and development ecosystem.

The University will host a primate colony and an NC3 biocontainment level laboratory specifically designed to accommodate these animals. The animals within this colony will live in semi-freedom in a secure environment imitating their natural habitat.

Failures

“The latest pandemic has highlighted flaws in the development and evaluation of vaccines, including difficulties in accessing non-human primates, an essential resource for preclinical studies against emerging infectious agents,” explained Jérôme Estaquier, professor and researcher, who will act as director of the new center.

The NC3 laboratory will comply with the highest biosafety standards set by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“These new facilities will allow our specialists and the entire scientific community to benefit from an infrastructure where it will be possible to develop new therapeutic approaches for the benefit of the Canadian population,” concluded the vice-president. rector of research, creation and innovation at Laval University, Eugénie Brouillet.

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