The federal government has awarded a subsidy of €20 million to the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) to set up a virus bank platform.
The provision was proposed in a decree by Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke that has been approved by the government.
The platform should help ensure that Belgium is better prepared for new or recurring viruses that can develop into epidemics or pandemics. It will need to become an advanced research platform that develops both preventive and therapeutic solutions against viruses and strengthens the country's role at the European level.
It will therefore have all the necessary expertise and models for the discovery, research and development of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical interventions - such as vaccines - against existing viruses, as well as model systems that can be immediately deployed when a new virus with a disturbing profile shows up.
The infrastructure of the virus bank platform will be set up by KU Leuven's Research & Development department, in close collaboration with the Virology Laboratory, the Antiviral Drug & Vaccine Research Laboratory and the Centre for Drug Design and Discovery of the Rega Institute.