New $8.1 million funding for VIDO will protect Canadians and our animals from high consequence pathogens

Nov 16, 2022

The University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) has received a significant investment from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to establish containment Level 4 (CL4) capacity—the highest level of containment. Once completed, this will make VIDO the only non-government CL4 facility in Canada.

“By strengthening Canadian research capacity for containment Level 4 diseases, VIDO will help enable scientists to develop solutions for any infectious disease,” said Director and CEO Dr. Volker Gerdts. “It will significantly expand Canada’s ability to work with high consequence pathogens and help support Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy.”

Today’s $8.1 million investment from the CFI’s Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund will be used to upgrade areas of VIDO to CL4. Currently the only CL4 facilities in Canada are the federal government’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg. VIDO actively collaborates with both the NML and CFIA.

“The Level 4 capacity will be supported by the world-class infrastructure and expertise already in place at VIDO,” said Director of Research Dr. Andrew Van Kessel. “We are excited to help drive research of national importance against infectious diseases.”

This CFI infrastructure investment builds on the $53.9 million in operational funding recently awarded through the CFI Major Science Initiatives Fund.

A key part of the upgrade process included numerous consultations with the community to improve awareness and gain support for the international importance of these containment research facilities. This outreach included sessions with local groups, online forums, and an open house session hosted by VIDO’s Community Liaison Committee. More information can be found at: