The director and CEO of USask’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization was happy and relieved to hear that the federal government would be supporting the effort to become the National Centre for Pandemic Research with $59.2-million. Dr. Volker Gerdts says the funding will also go to the continued development of a COVID-19 which is currently in clinical trials.
He says that new animal housing at VIDO will mean being able to study the animals in which new diseases often emerge. In addition, Dr. Gerdts says the funding will go to upgrading part of its Containment Level 3 (CL3) facility to Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4), which is the highest level, and it’s what you need to study emerging pathogens.
VIDO is also in the midst of constructing a vaccine manufacturing facility, which has been separately funded, and is expected to be complete by this fall. The containment facility upgrade will be completed over the next three years. During that time, Dr. Gerdts says they will begin recruiting the best scientific talent to Saskatoon, to make the National Centre for Pandemic Research a highly acclaimed centre for studying emerging diseases.