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Expectations from New Level-3 Biocontainment Lab

22 December 2010
Manitoba Pork Council


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CANADA - The construction of a 150 million dollar level-3 biocontainment laboratory in Saskatoon is expected to dramatically improve the ability of researchers to safely work with new or emerging diseases, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Intervac, a new international vaccine centre being constructed at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, is scheduled to open this coming spring.

The level-3 research facility will be open to researchers from around the world and will allow scientists to work with a range of disease causing pathogens without the risk of them escaping into the environment.

Dr Volker Gerdts, the associate director research with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, says many of these new emerging diseases such as last year's pandemic H1N1 Influenza outbreak require high levels of containment.

Dr Volker Gerdts-Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization

What it offers is a number of isolation rooms so there's 18 isolation rooms.

In each of them we can house up to either 10 cattle or 30 pigs or hundreds birds or mice or even horses.

It will allow us to work now with pathogens in these isolation rooms and we can make sure that none of these pathogens ever gets out.

There's also an additional six level-3 labs that allow us to do the research with these pathogens, to isolate the viruses for example from these animals afterward, make the vaccine and then test them in these animal rooms.

There is in Winnipeg one laboratory that is equipped to work with emerging diseases.

This will open up doors to a lot of new research on a lot of emerging diseases, not only of swine but also of other agriculture species, it will allow us to address important diseases for humans such as tuberculosis or hepatitis-C.

Something like SARS in the past, this is the type of facility that you would use to work on these diseases.


Dr Gerdts says the new international vaccine centre will be among the largest in the world and will tremendously move forward the ability to conduct research in Saskatoon.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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