VirusBank Platform: fully equipped to perform research on viruses of high epidemic or pandemic concern

The VirusBank Platform is a test platform that combines a collection of viruses with a toolbox of cellular and animal infection models available for partnering

It is not a matter of whether, but rather of when the next epidemic/pandemic will appear

The National Pact for strategic investments and the Belgian Federal Government Agreement (including the recovery plan) of September 30th, 2020, stipulate the need for investment in an entity that congregates the activities of setting up a virus bank and using it for research to advance the development of pharmaceutical solutions. At the KU Leuven, Johan Neyts (Professor of Virology at the Rega Institute) and Dr Patrick Chaltin (Director of the Centre for Drug Design & Development CD3) responded to Belgium’s need to create a ‘Biopreparedness and Anti-Infectives Unit’ by submitting in 2021 a proposal.

Capitalizing on Belgium’s world-class virology expertise and research infrastructure will drive success against the next epidemic/pandemic

The initial proposal was further developed in 2022 into the concept of the ‘VirusBank Platform’, a research organization fully equipped to perform all of research on viruses of high epidemic or pandemic concern. The proposed platform combines and centralizes relevant dedicated viral expertise with a highly-secured research infrastructure at KU Leuven – unique in Belgium and Europe – allowing the automated manipulation and high-throughput handling of pathogenic viruses (with Caps-It) addressing Belgium’s pandemic preparedness objectives. The VirusBank Platform application was granted 20 million € funding from the Belgian Federal Government.

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