Dr. Andy Potter,
Dr. Andy Potter,
Director of VIDO-InterVac
With InterVac just over a year away from opening, this is a very exciting time for everyone at VIDO-InterVac. We want to share the excitement of watching this world-leading facility come to life through this e-newsletter, Inside VIDO-InterVac.
Each year there seems to be an emerging infectious disease threat to human or animal health, or both. In past years diseases like West Nile Virus, SARS and other zoonotic diseases have emerged and affected the health of both animals and humans.
These diseases harm not only the health and quality of life of animals and humans, but have profound impacts on the economy. What makes them even more dangerous is that increasing global travel, changing agricultural practices, and climate change are all enabling these diseases to spread around the world swiftly.
That’s why we’re building a Containment Level 3 research facility, which we’ve named the International Vaccine, or InterVac. This facility will be used to study and develop vaccines for infectious diseases. “Containment Level” refers to the level of precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed facility. This $140-million facility will be one of the largest Containment Level 3 (CL3) vaccine research and development facilities in North America.
When construction is completed in spring 2011, InterVac will bring full circle the work of VIDO and its partners in academia, government and industry, through the ability to conduct research, develop vaccines, and test them effectively. This capability will help ensure new vaccines with benefits to animal and human health get to market sooner.
Aside from enormous health and economic benefits, VIDO-InterVac will create economic spin-offs for Saskatoon and the province and a number of research and other support jobs.
Students and researchers will also benefit from InterVac --- more than 40 per cent of VIDO’s existing staff are graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. With the addition of InterVac, opportunities to collaborate in the development of life-saving vaccines will be enormous. We’re already attracting interest from scientists and students from around the world.
We hope you enjoy this quarterly publication. Your feedback and comments are welcome any time.