Calgary, AB – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) today welcomed the new International Vaccine Centre (InterVac) at the University of Saskatchewan, a state of the art facility that will help build Canada’s critical research capacity in the prevention and control of infectious diseases that bridge animal and human health.

InterVac will provide North America’s only containment level 3 facility capable of accommodating high containment, large animal clinical vaccine trials. This will facilitate the development and initial efficacy testing of vaccines under controlled and contained conditions in advance of commercial field trials.

The CCA is a staunch proponent of government investment in scientific research. The work to be carried out at the $140-million facility will help to strengthen educational and training capacity, research collaboration and infrastructure, said Brad Wildeman, a CCA Past-President and Past Chair of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the university.

“This new facility benefits everyone. Collaborations and partnerships with researchers throughout the world will enhance Canada’s research capacity, improve our ability to prepare for emerging diseases, train highly specialized workers and help ensure access to safe food and water,” he said.

Slated to be operational in 2012, the InterVac facility will be the largest of its kind in Canada and the only facility in Canada and the U.S. to house large animals. The facility received funding from a variety of sources, including a total of $49 million from the Government of Canada to build and equip the containment level 3 facility. InterVac will operate as part of VIDO.

The CCA greatly values VIDO’s contributions to the beef industry, which include the development of effective vaccines to prevent economically important diseases affecting cow calf and feedlot sectors, said Wildeman. Industry also supports ongoing VIDO research pertaining to bovine respiratory disease, mycoplasma pneumonia and Johne’s disease with funding through the Beef Cattle Research Council.

“We are optimistic that the new InterVac facility will strengthen VIDO’s ability to help the Canadian beef industry continue to raise the world’s safest, healthiest and most nutritious beef,” Wildeman said.