Lab Canada

$140M vaccine centre celebrates opening

Saskatoon, SK – The $140-million International Vaccine Centre (InterVac) at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) – the largest facility of its kind in North America – has officially opened.

“This stellar addition to our unique life sciences cluster is an important national resource that will advance development of the next generation of vaccines to protect animal and human health, while fostering international collaborations and partnerships to help prevent a global pandemic,” said Peter MacKinnon, U of S president.

Operating as part of the U of S’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), the new containment level 3 InterVac facility provides specially designed facilities for scientists to safely conduct research into diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, SARS, influenza, and prion diseases such as chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease.

InterVac will enable larger-scale vaccine research and development than is currently possible in Canada and will help alleviate a worldwide shortage of specialized containment facility space for addressing many re-emerging and emerging diseases, the majority of which originate in animals. Scientists from across Canada and around the world will be able to use the facility.”

“InterVac enhances our capacity to develop new tools, technologies and policies for preventing disease and saving both human and animal lives,” said Karen Chad, U of S vice-president research.

She added that InterVac is one of the few CL3 research facilities in the world with an educational mandate, providing high-calibre training opportunities for graduate students.

“InterVac ushers in a new era of vaccine research in Western Canada,” said Andrew Potter, VIDO-InterVac director and CEO. “This facility greatly enhances our capacity to develop vaccines and new methods of delivering them to animals and humans, and our ability to address questions of food and water safety for all Canadians.”

The dual-wing InterVac building includes containment laboratories for research and training of graduate students, as well as an animal wing with multi-species accommodation.