The University of Toronto’s lab facility designed to contain highly infectious disease – known as a Combined Containment Level 3 (C-CL3) Unit – is in “serious need of a refresh,” writes Christine Allen, U of T’s associate vice-president and vice-provost, strategic initiatives, in an op-ed published by the Toronto Star.
The 20-year-old lab was among the first facilities in Canada to enable researchers to work with SaRS-CoV-2 samples and has contributed significantly to understanding and addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also been integral to research on tuberculosis and HIV, as well as viruses such as rabies, Zika and West Nile.
“As the only such lab in Canada connected to 14 hospitals, the requests for research are increasing without the necessary matching infrastructure to accommodate them, much less to prepare for the next global health crisis,” writes Allen, who is also a professor in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.
Funding would not only support talent, innovation and economic growth, but prepare Canada for “new and emerging health threats” on the horizon, Allen said.