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Subsector spotlight: Infectious Diseases Research

Infectious Diseases Research

As an ongoing risk to public health, infectious diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Industry-leading research in COVID-19, Ebola, Zika and other viruses strengthens Canada’s commitment to improving the health of global populations.

Saskatoon’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization - International Vaccine Centreicons.external-link-icon(VIDO-InterVac) is a world leader in infectious disease research and vaccine development and is home to one of Canada’s few biosafety level 3 facilities. Responsible for several world firsts in animal vaccines within its $200M biocontainment infrastructure, the institute studies 150 infectious diseases and vaccines annually, and was the first in Canada to isolate the COVID-19 virus and establish an animal model for testing. It was also the first centre in Canada to have a vaccine in the early stages of animal testing. 

Success stories:

Researchers at the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virologyicons.external-link-icon at the University of Alberta co-developed the world’s first oral antiviral treatment for hepatitis B. In 2020, Edmonton-based Dr. Michael Houghton, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the hepatitis C virus.

The Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Healthicons.external-link-icon in Winnipeg is a global leader in infectious diseases laboratory science and the first facility in the world to have both human and animal containment level 4 (CL4) labs under one roof.

Scientists at Manitoba’s National Microbiology Laboratoryicons.external-link-icon have significantly advanced scientific knowledge and strengthened the development of treatments for Ebola. Researchers are developing treatments and vaccines for other CL4 diseases, including Lassa fever, Marburg virus disease, and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

The Infectious Disease Research Centreicons.external-link-icon (IDRC) is the largest infectiology research institute in Canada and fifth-largest in the world. The IRDC team at Université Laval in Québec City was the first in the world to offer a clinical trial for a Zika virus vaccine.

Halifax’s Immunovaccineicons.external-link-icon, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company, is working to transform the way we engage human immunity to address some of the most complex and devastating diseases in today’s medical landscape.