Core Partner, BSL4, EU

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Founded in 1964, the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (INSERM) is a public scientific and technological institute that operates under the joint authority of the French Ministry of Health and French Ministry of Research. INSERM’s mission is to facilitate the exchange between basic, clinical, therapeutic and public health research leveraging on its scientific expertise in several fields and covering a very large spectrum of human diseases. Since 2004, INSERM holds the Jean Mérieux BSL4 Laboratory, which was built in 1999 in Lyon. Organized as a big infrastructure open to the whole national and international scientific community that needs to handle risk group 4 (RG4) infectious pathogens, the laboratory is the only one in France empowered to receive and study samples infected by RG4 pathogens. This infrastructure provides cutting edge facilities and proposes the largest Animal Biosafety Level 4 facility in Europe, allowing performing experimentations with animal models ranking from small rodents to Non‐Human Primates (NHP).

The Jean Mérieux BSL4 Laboratory meets the most drastic international biological safety standards enabling to play a key role in the early warning and surveillance of epidemics. As such, the laboratory is actively involved in international and European-funded programs related to diagnosis and biological resources management.

The profile of the Inserm Jean Mérieux BSL4 laboratory matches with the main objectives and planned tasks of the EVAg proposal for the following reasons:

  • Among the activities conducted in the laboratory, biosafety, diagnosis, biological resources management, animal experimentation and training are of most importance.
  • In the frame of the biosafety field, the laboratory has, amongst others activities, performed a lots of work in order to develop or validate inactivation protocols as well as to test the efficacy of disinfectant product and has by the way gained a recognized expertize in this field.
  • Concerning the diagnosis, the laboratory is one of the 2 pillars of the National reference center for risk group 4 pathogens. It has also developed collaborations with European eastern countries to bring assistance in this field. He is also one of the partners of the European Mobile Lab project funded by EC and deployed till March 2014 in Guinea.
  • In close link to diagnosis activities, the laboratory has established a management system for viral collection and is building a biological resource center in the frame of the extension of the existing BSL4 area.
  • At the present time the BSL4 laboratory in Lyon is the only operational one that can propose animal experimentation going from small rodents to non-human primates.
  • Formal training courses are currently conducted to train scientists and technicians to work in a BSL4 environment. Those training includes research and diagnosis work.
  • Finally, organized as a big infrastructure open at the national and international level to the scientific community that needs to handle risk group 4 pathogens the laboratory is familiar with and armed to provide transnational access.