The federal government is expanding the capacity of Canada’s level-4 containment labs in Winnipeg, which are used to research some of the world’s most dangerous human and animal diseases.
Health Minister Jane Philpott announced the $5-million lab expansion today in Winnipeg, saying the enhancements are critical for strengthening Canada’s ability to respond to both global and domestic public health threats.
The increased lab space will help improve testing and researching of high-risk infectious diseases like Ebola, Middle East respiratory syndrome and avian influenza.
Level-4 labs provide the highest degree of biocontainment and are equipped to safely diagnose, research and develop treatments and vaccines for high-risk pathogens.
Scientists at the National Microbiology Laboratory have improved diagnosis and developed an experimental vaccine for Ebola, while also working on treatments for other level-4 diseases like Lassa fever and the Marburg virus.
Researchers at the lab are also studying Nipah virus — a potentially fatal disease that can affect both pigs and humans.